Washington, D.C. — In the Obstruction Olympics, the torch has been passed: CREW’s voters have named a new champion of gridlocked government after repeatedly calling out Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) for his singular role in the upper chamber’s dysfunction. For an ego trip that again brought the American economy to the brink of default, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) wins the title of February’s Scoundrel of the Month.
After the House approved an increase in the debt ceiling by a wide margin, the Senate expected to pass the measure with little fanfare — until Sen. Cruz staged a filibuster. With the Senate falling short of the 60 votes needed to move forward, the chamber’s leaders held the vote open to corral more Republican senators into the “aye” column. Ultimately, Sen. Cruz’s stunt even forced Sen. McConnell, who has made unprecedented use of the filibuster to thwart majority rule in the Senate, to vote to proceed. Failing to pass the measure could have led to a market crash and brought the federal government to the brink of its first-ever default.
“They say everything’s bigger in Texas, and apparently that applies to Sen. Cruz’s ego, too. If there’s a silver lining to his latest ploy for attention, it is perhaps that other Republican Senators will be less eager to exploit Senate rules in service to relentless obstruction now that those same tactics have been wielded against them,” CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan said.
Last fall, Sen. Cruz spearheaded a strategy to shut down the government in a futile attempt to strip funding from the Affordable Care Act. The resulting 16-day shutdown caused widespread hardship and cost the economy an estimated $24 billion. Sen. Cruz made no apologies for the gambit, which capped a robust quarter for his campaign and fundraising committees.
Nominations are already being accepted for March’s Scoundrel of the Month. People, entities, and agencies are all eligible. Submit your choices by Friday, March 28th. Voting will begin the following week.
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