By Jordain Carney, The Hill
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) in a blistering floor speech Friday accused Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) of lying to him over a deal to vote on reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank.
“Today is a sad day for this institution,” said Cruz, who is running for president. “What we just witnessed this morning is profoundly disappointing.”
The Texas Republican’s remarks come after McConnell set up a procedural vote on Sunday to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank, which saw its charter expire last month. Democrats have said McConnell agreed to allow a vote on attaching Ex-Im to “must-pass” legislation to win support from Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) for a trade package earlier this year.
On the floor, Cruz said McConnell in a private conversation denied to him that there was such a deal.
“The majority leader was visibly angry with me that I would ask him such a question,” Cruz said. “The majority looked at me and said ‘there is no deal, there is no deal, there is no deal.'”
The Texas Republican said his staff at the time told him that McConnell is “lying to you,” but Cruz suggested that he took the Republican leader at his word.
“What I told my staff that afternoon, I said, well I don’t know if that’s the case or not. But I don’t see how when the majority leader looks me in the eyes and makes an explicit promise,” he added. “I don’t see how I cannot take him at his word.”
Cruz later said that McConnell’s move to allow the Ex-Im vote shows that he does not always mean what he says.