Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has had a knack for alienating fellow Republicans, drawing their ire for more than one public attack on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and frustrating the GOP’s agenda.
Tensions between Cruz and the GOP caucus were at an all-time high four years ago this month, when the Texas lawmaker worked with hardcore House conservatives to block a must-pass funding package and forced a lengthy government shutdown. After that, Cruz was often shunned by Republicans at party luncheons and even saw GOP colleagues block his moves on the Senate floor.
But the former presidential candidate has taken a less confrontational approach since his return to the Senate, and rather than block federal funding Cruz is now actively seeking government support for his home state after it was ravaged by Hurricane Harvey in September.
Cruz famously opposed the supplemental spending plan appropriators pushed in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, which caused billions of damage in the northeastern states in 2012. But after Harvey hit Houston Cruz has been working closely with Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) and other members of the state’s congressional delegation to get as much money as possible for the area’s recovery.
The price tag for the aid is still unknown, but it’s said likely to exceed the $50 billion appropriated after both Sandy and Hurricane Katrina.
“We’ve got your back,” Cruz said in a recent missive he penned with Cornyn before they joined House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), key appropriators, and other lawmakers to look at damage from the storm and assess the federal response.
“The Texas delegation is committed to acting as one to ensure all the relief Texans need is going to be provided,” Cruz tweeted.
Cornyn told reporters back at the Capitol that he and Cruz are now seeing more eye to eye after Harvey hit the state. The goal, he said, is to get a multibillion-dollar supplemental to help Texas through Congress this fall and then get another slug of federal money for the state in a year-end omnibus appropriations package.
“I just feel that, in light of the importance of a unified Texas delegation, tactical differences that may have separated us in the past should be put behind us,” Cornyn said.
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