The partial government shutdown – the longest in US history – has now lasted more than 30 days. As President Donald Trump continues to insist he’ll veto any bills to fund the government that don’t include financing for the border wall, many people are missing paychecks. On Thursday, Ted Cruz gave a speech on the senate floor, where he placed the blame on Democrats for the government shutdown and tried to push for a bill to pay the Coast Guard in the meantime. But then, Senator Michael F. Bennet hit the floor and basically told Cruz to STFU.
Bennet, who started off by explaining that he seldom tries to “contradict” someone on the other side, said he felt compelled to speak out. “But these crocodile tears that the senator from Texas is crying for first responders are too hard for me to take,” he said, before taking us back to 2013. “Because when the senator from Texas shut this government down, my state was flooded. It was underwater. People were killed. People’s houses were destroyed. Their small businesses were ruined forever. And because of the senator from Texas, this government was shut down. For politics.”
For nearly 25 minutes, Bennet delivered scathing criticism after scathing criticism about Cruz, Trump, and the border wall. He also spoke out against the “Hastert rule” – also known as the “majority of the majority” rule – which has made it impossible to pass comprehensive immigration bills. (In 2003, Dennis Hastert said that the “job of the Speaker is not to expedite legislation that runs counter to the wishes of the majority of the majority.”)
“Because of the stupidest rule ever created, called the Hastert rule!” Bennet said about the 2013 immigration bill that passed the Senate but that couldn’t get a vote in the House. “Named after somebody who is in prison. That has allowed a minority of tyrants in the Congress [to control the agenda].” (Hastert, the longest-serving Republican Speaker of the House, pled guilty to a federal banking violation and admitted to molesting young boys that he coached.)
Cruz, who was feeling very attacked, returned to the floor to denounce the way that Bennet – who rose his voice several times – addressed him. Cruz said, “I will say in all of my time in the Senate, I don’t believe I have ever bellowed or yelled at a colleague on the Senate floor, and I hope I never do that.”