Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) places his hand on Sen. Ted Cruz's (R-TX) shoulder. UPI/Kevin Dietsch | License Photo
WASHINGTON, Dec. 15 (UPI) -- Republican Senators Ted Cruz and Mike Lee again found themselves at odds with their own party, as the Senate passed the $1.1 trillion spending package on Saturday without taking action to block President Obama's executive order on immigration.
Cruz forced an over-the-weekend "point of order" vote on the constitutionality of executive amnesty, calling the Senate to the floor at a time when most representatives expected to be in recess.
"I don't see any reason why the United States Senate should suspend its operations while the American people are waiting for us to act," Lee remarked.
Arguing against the spending bill for not including language to obstruct the president's executive order, Cruz argued, "A whole lot of citizens across this country feel a little bit like Charlie Brown with Lucy and the football." Cruz was addressing criticisms from both sides of aisle accusing him of playing party politics at the risk of government stability.
"In fight after fight, leadership in Congress says, 'We'll fight next time -- not this time, no, no, no. The wise thing to do is to fight in a month, fight in two months, fight in thee months.' There comes a point when Charlie Brown has kicked the football and fallen on his rear end one too many times."
Nearly three quarters of the Senate rejected Cruz's vote, inspiring a dejected Cruz to tell reporters "We are stuck in Washington as long as Harry Reid insists that the Senate stay here," according to the Washington Post.
"I am hopeful that every Republican will stand up and lead -- that we will honor the commitments we made and demonstrate to the American people that it makes a real difference to have a Republican majority. Sadly, the lame duck is not an encouraging first step in that regard," he said.
"I might just ask the majority leader, this is the same senator who shut down the government last year in protest over the Affordable Care Act?" Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin countered.
"The very same man," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid indulged.
"Now he's hung up on not only the Affordable Care Act, but the president's action to give 5 million people relief in this country so they can come out of the shadows and make this country a more productive place."
Republicans also offered harsh criticisms for Cruz, accusing him of being unrealistic and wasting the Senate's time.
"While the president's executive actions on immigration are reprehensible and deserve a strong response, I value the oath I took to support and defend the Constitution too much to exploit it for political expediency," offered Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker.
Republican Susan Collins of Maine was less cordial with Cruz.
"You are going to make everybody miserable," Collins said directly to Cruz. According to Politico, after denouncing Cruz's tactics to his face, Collins turned to Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, who opposed the Cruz-Lee obstruction, and remarked "I tried."
Cruz and Lee's efforts to block the bipartisan spending bill didn't just damage his own credibility, it also dealt a huge blow to Republican strategy. By holding an emergency session, Cruz allowed Senate Democrats to file cloture motions on 24 pending executive and judicial nominees. Many of those nominees would have had to wait until after the lame-duck session for confirmation and would likely have been held in limbo once the Democrats lost control of the Senate.
Now, thanks to Ted Cruz and Mike Lee, the Democrats got their way.