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The Familiar GOP Senate Showdown

Ted Cruz vs. Mitch McConnell on the Ex-Im Bank.

It’s beyond troubling that the Senate voted over the weekend to save the Export-Import Bank after its charter expired June 30, but the twisted tale of how it came about and the intraparty warfare that resulted may be even worse.

Through a series of back and forth votes on amendments to the highway funding bill, Senate Republicans resurrected the Ex-Im Bank by a vote of 67-26. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, whose passion often rises above his strategic ability, railed so loudly against the measure from the Senate floor that he went so far as to call Majority Leader Mitch McConnell a liar for reversing what Cruz alleged was his previously stated position on the matter.

“The American people elected a Republican majority believing that a Republican majority would be somehow different from a Democratic majority in the United States Senate,” said Cruz. “Unfortunately, the way the current Senate operates, there is one party — the Washington party.”

Cruz went even further, accusing McConnell of operating in collusion with Minority Leader Harry Reid for shutting down Senate conservatives’ attempts to defund Planned Parenthood and push a vote requiring Iran to recognize Israel’s right to exist. Also in the mix was another vote driven by Sen. Mike Lee of Utah to repeal ObamaCare by a simple majority vote.

As for the Ex-Im Bank, it’s nothing but a cronyist attempt to offer corporate welfare to large corporations who don’t need taxpayer dollars but lobby hard for the money anyway. Supporters of the Bank, which include virtually the entire Democrat caucus in the Senate and far too many Republicans, insist the Bank exists to support small business on the world stage, but the reality is quite different.

Cruz was right to fight the GOP leadership’s move to breathe new life into the Bank nearly a month after its charter expired, but his guns-a-blazin’ actions left him in the wilderness. Many Republicans headed to the fainting couch when he insulted the leadership in public.

“I think it was a violation of the rules,” said Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC). “It’s not how you treat a colleague regardless of how you feel.”

Cruz’s actions to fight the Ex-Im vote, as well as make stands on other conservative issues, left him without support among most Republicans, who clung to parliamentary procedure in turning their backs on him.

The House has yet to act on backing up the Senate’s play in resurrecting the Ex-Im Bank, though there is some hope conservatives there will hold the line. But there’s an awful lot of money and power at stake, and the Bank’s proponents won’t go quietly.

The story for the Leftmedia is the fact that Cruz, a presidential candidate hoping to distinguish himself from the field as the Guy Who’ll Take on the Establishment, perhaps let his mouth get in the way of the right agenda once again. What is getting lost is the fact that the Ex-Im Bank, which was allowed to die last month, is now back on life support thanks to the actions by a Senate leadership that has yet to explain itself. It certainly seems a fair number of Senate Republicans are more opposed to Cruz’s presidential bid than a cronyist wealth redistribution scheme.

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