As the second most popular Republican candidate for president, Texas Senator Ted Cruz clashed with President Donald Trump while on the 2016 campaign trail. Throughout his first several months in office, Cruz has generally not protested Trump as much as he suggested he would. However, this week, he expressed his unwillingness to vote for the Graham-Cassidy Bill, the Republican party’s latest attempt to repeal and replace Obamacare.
This vote of protest comes amidst an avalanche of GOP Senators saying they will not vote for the Graham-Cassidy Bill. President Trump, anxious for a public relations victory of revoking the Obama-era law, has backed the Graham-Cassidy Bill as his best chance to achieve that goal. However, Cruz is only the latest Republican – joining Rand Paul, John McCain, and others – to indicate that they will not support Trump and the party effort.
The Republicans have a narrow 52-48 majority in the Senate. These three votes alone (Cruz, McCain, and Paul) would be enough to deal the Graham-Cassidy Bill a decisive loss, assuming that all Democrats hold their party line and protest the Obamacare legislation.
“Right now, they don’t have my vote,” Cruz said. “And I don’t think they have Mike Lee’s vote, either.”
Trump warned via Twitter that any Republicans voting against this bill will forever have a dark mark for protecting Obama’s landmark health legislation. They “will forever … be known as ‘the Republican who saved ObamaCare,'” he tweeted.
Although Trump acknowledged his emphasis is on tax reform at the moment, he said, “So I don’t know what they’re doing, but you know what? Eventually we’ll win, whether it’s now or later,” in reference to health care.
“September 30 is a bogus deadline,” Cruz said, rejecting any notion that Trump will bully him with setting arbitrary deadlines. “We can do budget reconciliation or resolution at any point.”