The Senate has approved the so-called Cromnibus bill. It did so in a rare Saturday session. According to the Washington Post, Ted Cruz and Mike Lee forced the Saturday session:
Prolonged debate on the spending bill, which passed on a 56-to-40 bipartisan vote, came after Cruz and Lee late Friday night derailed a carefully crafted plan between party leaders to allow senators to go home for the weekend and return Monday to approve the spending agreement. The pair had sought to force a vote that essentially would block federal agencies from implementing the immigration policy changes ordered by Obama last month.
Cruz and Lee accomplished nothing in terms of the spending bill or the executive amnesty. But, again according to the Post, their maneuvering enabled Harry Reid to confirm around 20 of President Obama’s nominations. Here’s how:
Reid blocked the Cruz-Reid request for a vote on blocking Obama’s executive amnesty and angrily clashed with them on the Senate floor, ensuring that debate on the spending bill would spill into Saturday. Then, come Saturday, Reid used the session to begin consideration of around 20 of Obama’s nominees, almost half of whom Republicans had been blocking. Consequently, votes on the nominees will take place on Monday morning.
What would have happened had there been no Saturday session? According to the Post:
If the Senate had voted Monday on the spending bill under the original agreement, Reid would have had to wait until Monday evening to start processing nominees, and Democrats feared that as the holidays drew closer, more of their ranks would have left town before confirming all the nominees. But with Cruz and Lee’s actions, Democrats were able to accelerate the confirmation process and made it far more likely they could approve every contentious nominee that GOP senators had been blocking.
Oh, and Cruz and Lee were unable to get a vote on their amendment. It was always clear they wouldn’t.
Democrats say they are delighted with the fruits of the Saturday session. Here’s Chuck Schumer: “What Cruz did aided and abetted us getting nominations.” Here’s Benjamin Cardin: “It’s inconvenient to be here voting around the clock. But at least we get our work done.”
Republicans were less than pleased. Here’s Bob Corker: “The White House is going to end up with far more nominations confirmed than they ever would have.” Many Republicans joined with Democrats in rejecting a point of order raised by Cruz late in the day, a clear sign of their unhappiness with his tactics.
Who are the controversial nominees whose confirmation is now virtually assured? They include: Antony Blinken, a longtime adviser to Joe Biden who serves as Obama’s deputy national security adviser, to serve as deputy secretary of state; Sarah Saldana, a U.S. attorney in Texas, to serve as the assistant secretary of homeland security, overseeing enforcement of immigration laws; and Vivek Murthy, a Massachusetts doctor, to serve as surgeon general.
As the Post reminds us, Murthy has been opposed by the National Rifle Association for his comments on Twitter about gun violence and gun laws. Blinken has run afoul of John McCain and with good reason, given his role in Obama’s disastrous national security decisions. As for Saldana, she’s the one who will implement the executive amnesty that Cruz and Lee futility attempted to derail.
Ted Cruz’s heart is in the right place, but once again, his judgment must be questioned.