It's not every day that a candidate for the office of President of the United States takes to the floor of the Senate to accuse the leader of his party of lying. But that's what Sen. Ted Cruz did this week.
The occasion related to a vote on an amendment to the highway bill that would reauthorize the Export-Import Bank, the federal agency that offers financing for export sales by U.S. businesses. The bank's charter expired July 1. The highway bill, passed by the House of Representatives on July 15, funds highway and transit projects only through mid-December.
According to Cruz, McConnell had earlier said there was no deal to revive the Export-Import Bank, which Cruz and other conservatives view as a form of corporate welfare. The amendment to the highway bill was counter to McConnell's earlier statement to the Senate's Republicans.
As the TV cameras rolled, Cruz, backed by several other senators, went to the podium and said, "The majority leader (Mitch McConnell) looked me in the eye, and looked 54 Republicans in the eye. I cannot believe he would tell a flat-out lie. And I voted based on those assurances that he made to each and every single one of us. 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 a simple lie."
Without affirmative action by the Congress, federal funding for surface transportation projects will run out at the end of July.