Sparks flew at a rare Sunday session of the Senate as Republican veteran Sen. Orrin Hatch opened the session with a rebuke aimed squarely at an unrepentant Ted Cruz.
The Senate establishment closed ranks against the Texas Republican presidential hopeful for a Senate floor speech Friday that denounced Majority Leader Mitch McConnell as a liar.
The speech was out of line, said Hatch, the Senate’s president pro tempore.
“Squabbling and sanctimony may be tolerated in other venues and perhaps on the campaign trail, but they have no place among colleagues in the United States Senate,” he said.
Cruz did not waver, maintaining that McConnell lied about backroom dealing to revive the Export-Import Bank.
“Speaking the truth about actions is entirely consistent with civility,” he said, defending himself on the Senate floor.
Two votes were taken on Sunday: one to squash a procedural vote to repeal Obamacare; the other to revive the now-expired federal Export-Import Bank.
Both votes were on amendments to a must-pass highway bill. A Senate ruling on Friday killed Cruz’s attempt to offer an amendment to the highway bill to block President Obama’s Iran deal. Another vote Sunday failed to overturn Friday’s ruling.
Besides accusing McConnell of being a liar, Cruz on Friday accused McConnell of operating as a “team” with Minority Leader Sen. Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, The Hill reported.
Hatch’s reading of Senate Rule 19 — which prohibits senators from accusing each other of behavior “unworthy” of the Senate — was meant as a warning to Cruz, but the Senate Conservative Fund, an outside political organization, believes it only proves Cruz’s point.
— Senate Conservatives (@SCF) July 26, 2015
Watch video of Hatch’s rebuke below.