It’s not too uncommon for Republican leaders from the House and Senate to occasionally meet, trade notes, and work out bicameral strategies, but as a rule, rank-and-file members tend to stick with colleagues from the same chamber. When they have ideas or grand plans, GOP lawmakers usually turn to their chamber’s leadership or committee chairs.
Which is why it’s odd to see House Republicans huddle so frequently with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas).
Last September, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) presented a plan to avoid a government shutdown. Cruz met directly with House Republicans, urged them to ignore their own leader’s plan, and GOP House members followed his advice. The result was an embarrassing and unnecessary shutdown.
A month later, Cruz held another meeting with House Republicans, this time in a private room at a Capitol Hill restaurant. In April, the Texas senator again gathered House Republicans, this time for a private meeting in his office. Cruz’s office shared very few details with reporters, except to note that the 90-minute session “included candy bars, crackers and soda.”
And then last week, less than an hour after House Republicans elected a new leadership team, guess who had an invitation for them?
At 4 p.m., immediately following the leadership elections, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) – who has repeatedly encouraged House conservatives to defy their leaders – sent an e-mail to a large group of conservative House Republicans.Cruz invited them to meet with him June 24 for an “off-the-record gathering” and “an evening of discussion and fellowship.”Pizza, Cruz told them, will be served.
I’m sure it was delightful, but I can’t help but wonder about the purpose of all of these meetings.
Some of this, I suspect, is the result of an unusual leadership dynamic. Cruz can’t do much in his chamber – Senate Republicans don’t seem to like him, and Senate Democrats consider him a dangerous demagogue – so he’s reaching out to House Republicans, who at least have a majority. GOP House members, meanwhile, don’t much care for their own leaders, and they apparently find value in Cruz’s counsel.
It’s a match made in … somewhere unpleasant.
But since Congress can no longer pass meaningful legislation of any kind, what is it, exactly, that these far-right lawmakers are talking about? We can only speculate, of course, but maybe it’s ideas like these.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) introduced a resolution on Thursday calling for Attorney General Eric Holder to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the IRS scandal – and if he doesn’t do so, Cruz thinks he should be impeached.“If attorney general Eric Holder continues to refuse to appoint a special prosecutor, he should be impeached,” Cruz said on the Senate floor.
Let’s put aside for now the fact that there is no IRS “scandal” and the idea of appointing a special prosecutor for no reason is quite dumb. Instead, let’s note that even if Senate Republicans decided they love the idea of impeaching the Attorney General, it’s not their call – impeachment proceedings must begin in the House, not the Senate.
Maybe this is what Cruz mentions over pizza and candy bars?