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Last week Politico informed us that Texas Sen. Ted Cruz had decided to be less insane and was actually making an effort to play nice with his Republican colleagues in the Senate. And now?
“Under no circumstances will I agree to the Senate’s raising the debt ceiling with just 50 votes. I intend to object and force a 60-vote threshold,” Cruz said.
Cruz isn't demanding the vote be delayed—he just wants to force a cloture vote before moving to a final vote. By his reasoning, this will put Senate Republicans in a position to block the debt increase and force default—as long as they vote in unison.
“They don’t have to vote for it, I think Republicans should stand together and do the right thing. We should have every Republican stand together and follow the responsible course of action, which is to insist on meaningful spending reforms before raising the debt ceiling,” Cruz said.
Technically, I suppose that's accurate, but surely Cruz knows that if push comes to shove, Senate Republicans will not vote in in unison for default. Without question, at least five of them will break out of the looney bin and vote for a clean debt limit increase. Basically, then, what Cruz is doing is less about causing trouble for the debt limit than it is about causing trouble for Republicans who would like to pretend they oppose raising it.
Don't get me wrong, I am in no way a fan of the filibuster. But I do kind of love the fact that Ted Cruz has figured out a way to use it that will piss off Republicans more than Democrats.