Republican senator and 2016 Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz lashed out at Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Friday, calling him a liar on the chamber’s floor.
Cruz, R-Texas, blasted McConnell, R-Ky., after the majority leader employed a procedural maneuver for a vote on a must-pass highway bill that would make it difficult for senators to add amendments.
That infuriated Cruz because the highway bill contains a measure that reauthorizes the Export-Import Bank, which many conservatives oppose because they consider it corporate welfare.
Democrats have said McConnell agreed to attach the Ex-Im Bank reauthorization to the highway bill. Cruz said that McConnell denied that there was a deal.
"What we just saw today was an absolute demonstration that not only what he told every Republican senator, but what he told the press over and over and over again, was simply a lie," Cruz said. "We know now that when the majority leader looks us in the eyes and makes an explicit commitment, that he is willing to say things that he knows are false. That has consequences for how this body operates."
McConnell’s office declined to comment on Cruz’s remarks.
On the Senate floor, Cruz said he asked McConnell about an Ex-Im deal during a Senate Republican luncheon.
"It was a direct question. I asked the majority leader in front of all the Republican senators," Cruz said. "The majority leader was visibly angry with me that I would ask such a question, and the majority leader looked at me and said there is no deal, there is no deal. Like St. Peter, he repeated it three times."
By using the procedural move known as "filling the tree," Cruz said McConnell was no different than Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., who annoyed Republicans by employing the tactic repeatedly when he was majority leader.
"He filled the tree, just Harry Reid, he filled the tree, blocking everyone else’s amendment,." he said.
Cruz’s Friday broadside was the latest against his latest against his majority leader. In his new book, "A Time for Truth," Cruz accuses McConnell of trying to stymie his attempts to defund the Affordable Care Act.
He also suggests that Republicans such as McConnell and Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., say one thing in public to appeal to conservatives, but act differently in private.