Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., said he hopes Friday's House vote to keep the government running while defunding "Obamacare" will expose Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz as "a fraud" and that "he'll no longer have any influence in the Republican Party."
The Tea Party-backed Cruz spent much of the summer drumming up pressure on fellow Republicans to refuse to fund the government unless the Affordable Care Act was also defunded at the same time. The campaign helped Cruz build a national profile among conservative activists who badly want to repeal President Barack Obama's landmark legislation.
But as the House passed legislation to do just that, some Republicans turned their ire not toward opposed Democrats, but toward the Texas firebrand.
"Today's vote is definitely a signal that we have to take a more realistic and practical approaches, that we can't be going off on these false missions that Ted Cruz wants us to go on," King told reporters before the bill passed by a partisan 230-189 vote.
And at a press conference following the vote, Republicans vocally punted responsibility to follow through on their legislation to the Senate -- and implicitly, to Cruz.
"The House has listened to the American people. Now it's time for the United States Senate to listen to them as well," House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said after Friday's House vote.
Cruz angered some of his colleagues in the House earlier this week when he admitted that he likely wouldn't have the votes to make good on his threat to defund Obamacare in the Democratically-controlled Senate, thereby only increasing the pressure on fellow Republicans in the House.
"At that point, House Republicans must stand firm, hold their ground, and continue to listen to the American people," Cruz said.
The notion drew swift blow-back from House GOP who decried Cruz for having no actually workable plan to dismantle Obamacare, meanwhile leaving his fellow Republicans in a more difficult spot politically.
Responding to the backlash of criticism from his conservative colleagues, Cruz said on Thursday he would do "everything necessary and anything possible to defund Obamacare," including attempting to filibuster the funding bill in the Senate if its stripped of it's defunding for the health care law.
Both Cruz and King are thought to be considering 2016 presidential runs. After his 2012 election, Cruz has become a sought after speaker for conservatives throughout the country -- including key early primary and caucus states.
King said he hopes that Friday's likely doomed vote in Senate will show Republicans that Cruz is "bad for the party."
First published September 20 2013, 9:19 AM