Texas and the Congressional Suicide Caucus

Lone Star GOP on the losing side of shutdown fight

Ted, just admit it: Sen. Ted Cruz still leading the charge in defeat
Ted, just admit it: Sen. Ted Cruz still leading the charge in defeat

The passage of most Congressional House Resolutions goes blissfully ignored: Not when House Resolution 2775 – the continuing resolution ending the shutdown – passed. However, as always, the Texas Congressional delegation split resolutely along party lines, with Lone Star Republicans sticking with the suicide caucus.

Last night's vote showed an undoubted, if pointlessly delayed, display of bipartisanship. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, finally acknowledged that there was enough support to pass a clean continuing resolution within his own party that, when combined with Democratic votes, he would clearly jump the 217 vote barrier required. Indeed, he actually had those votes a week ago: The Washington Post calculated on Oct. 9 that he was already five votes clear, with 200 Democrats and 22 Republicans lined up to vote yea. That meant Congressional Republican distaste for the shutdown had actually grown by 65 votes, as finally 87 members of the GOP caucus voted to restart funding of the government.

But not, of course, the Texas delegation.

As to be expected, all 12 Democrats signed off on the bipartisan deal, and all 21 Republicans resealed their blood oath with the Tea Party by voting nay. The group has sometimes been dubbed the Suicide Caucus for their willingness to commit to a cause – such as forcing the government to abandon healthcare reform – no matter the cost. In this case, the cost was an estimated $24 billion in lost US GDP, a near-miss on the default, huge numbers of government workers going unpaid, and GOP approval ratings in the tank.

Not that they care. Texas' congressional maps are so gerrymandered that they're all pretty bullet proof at the ballot box in 2014.

In the wake of their loss, leave it to Texas fringer-in-chief Rep. Louie Gohmert to jump from the topmost point of the truculence diving board. His foot stamping reached his nadir when he made Fox News look like cheese eating surrender monkeys. But he reserved particular ire for Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, who was a: one of the first GOPers to say that the shutdown was the GOP's fault and b: one of the 27 Senate Republicans to back the deal. In a tirade over McCain's shutdown stance, Gohmert went so far as to call the former GOP presidential nominee an Al-Qaeda supporter at last weekend's Value Voters Summit.

McCain, with surprising self control, witheringly responded, "Sometimes comments like that are made out of malice, but if someone has no intelligence, I don't view it as being a malicious statement."

Unsurprisingly, the toughest rhetoric was reserved for the architect of the shutdown, Texas' junior senator Ted Cruz. In a sign of the GOP civil war that is clearly and finally bubbling over, Rep. Pete King, R-New York, slammed the freshman. He told CNN, "The fact is, if you come up with a strategy that's going to shutdown the government of the United States, and you have no way of winning, you're either a fraud, or you're totally incompetent."

It's not just his fellow GOPers going after Cruz. In a statement, Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa accused him of "scoring political points with his narrow right-wing base and protecting his potential presidential candidacy." In a sign that Democrats see ballot box weakness for Republicans over this issue, Hinojosa also went after presumptive Republican gubernatorial nominee Greg Abbott "and the rest of the Texas Republican good ole boys club all backed Cruz in this reckless action."

The Texas Yeas

Joaquin Castro (D)
Henry Cuellar (D)
Lloyd Doggett (D)
Pete Gallego (D)
Al Green (D)
Gene Green (D)
Ruben Hinojosa (D)
Sheila Jackson Lee (D)
Eddie Johnson (D)
Marc Veasey (D)
Filemon Vela (D)

The Lone Star Nays

Joe Barton (R)
Kevin Brady (R)
Michael Burgess (R)
John Carter (R)
Michael Conaway (R)
John Culberson (R)
Blake Farenthold (R)
Louie Gohmert (R)
Kay Granger (R)
Ralph Hall (R)
Jeb Hensarling (R)
Sam Johnson (R)
Kenny Marchant (D)
Michael McCaul (R)
Randy Neugebauer (D)
Pete Olson (R)
Ted Poe (R)
Lamar Smith (R)
Steve Stockman (R)
Mac Thornberry (R)
Roger Williams (R)

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Congress, Obamacare, Republican Party of Texas, Texas Democratic Party, Lloyd Doggett, Ted Cruz, Suicide Caucus, Gilberto Hinojosa, Pete King

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