Ted Cruz and GOP wrestle with Biden and their own past in debt ceiling fight

·2-min read

Ted Cruz was back on cable news battling the White House over the issue of the debt ceiling on Sunday as Republicans grow increasingly frustrated with the ironlike determination of the president to prevent their party from scoring a political win.

The Texas US senator spoke to Maria Bartiromo on the Fox Business Network as he fumed that Republicans were unable to make any progress in their bid for concessions from Democrats on spending cuts as part of negotiations to raise America’s debt ceiling and prevent a default on the US’s loans.

"The contrast could not be starker. The Republicans in the House are responsible and Joe Biden, what is he saying? He's saying ‘I will not talk, I will not negotiate, I will not give in on anything, anyhow, any way,’" complained the Texas Republican.

He would go on to accuse the mainstream media of taking the president’s side on the issue, echoing common Republican grievances about journalists.

Yet, for all his complaints, the GOP’s reputation on the issues of basic governance remains deeply marred thanks to the actions of Congress and former President Donald Trump in recent years. In the most famous instance of the politcal games that play out when Republicans make demands in exchange for their votes on the debt ceiling, funding of the federal government and more, the federal government shut down for nearly three weeks between 2018 and 2019, with the exception of essential services, after Mr Trump refused to sign an appropriations bill that did not include funding for border fencing along the US-Mexico divide.

That shutdown of the government cost the US economy more than $10bn, according to the Congressional Budget Office. The last major debt ceiling fight was in 2011, and led to the US’s credit being downgraded. During that debate, the stock market plunged and the GOP’s overall approval rating dropped nearly ten points as well.

The increasingly pro-brinkmanship tactics of the GOP’s far right wing even endangered their own party’s election of a Speaker of the House this past January when a handful of GOP holdouts in the House forced the chamber to vote more than a dozen times before Speaker Kevin McCarthy was confirmed — and his path looked far from certain throughout the process.

Mr Cruz will likely not have much of a say in the matter overall, given the GOP’s status in the minority in the Senate, where the party has been relatively quiet compared to their House colleagues in terms of demands from the White House.