Citing Senate Republicans it did not identify, the Capitol Hill publication said Friday McConnell -- who faces a primary challenge from a Tea Party-style hopeful in the 2014 election -- has helped arrange two meetings this week on the shutdown and the impending expiration of the government's ability to borrow more money to pay its obligations.
McConnell spokesman John Ashbrook told Roll Call the minority leader has "a lot of meetings with other members and since the government is in the midst of a shutdown, it's a natural topic of discussion."
One of the meetings McConnell is reported to have arranged was for Republican senators only and the other was for Republicans in both House, the report said.
Citing sources it did not identify, Politico reported Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, came in for hostile questioning at the meeting of senators, with some demanding he explain the strategy behind his insistence that House Republicans refuse to allow a vote on a so-called clean budget resolution and to make clear how he would go about defunding the Affordable Care Act.
"It was very evident to everyone in the room that Cruz doesn't have a strategy -- he never had a strategy, and could never answer a question about what the end-game was," said a senator who was at the meeting. "I just wish the 35 House members that have bought the snake oil that was sold could witness what was witnessed today at lunch."
Asked about the meeting, Cruz told Politico, "It seems that there is nothing the media likes to cover more than disagreements among Republicans, and apparently some senators are content to fuel those stories with anonymous quotes."
Speaking on the Senate floor Friday, Cruz said the House has "repeatedly compromised already" -- arguing that House Republicans have settled for defunding the ACA, rather than repealing it.