In an editorial over the weekend, the Wall Street Journal criticized Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) for taking credit for the failure of a gun-control bill to pass the Senate. Cruz’s office is pushing back.
A previous WSJ editorial advised Cruz and his Senate colleagues Mike Lee (R-Utah) Rand Paul (R-Ky.) not to follow through with their initial threat to block any votes on the bill by way of a filibuster. The paper argued that allowing votes on the bill would put Democrats in gun-friendly states in a bind.
Though the filibuster failed, an amendment to the bill strengthening background checks also failed, lacking 60 votes it needed to pass. That has put legislation back at ground zero.
After the vote took place, Cruz mocked WSJ while speaking at a tea party rally in Texas, claiming that his strategy worked after all. WSJ then accused Cruz of rewriting history, saying that his attempt to block a vote failed. It was, the paper wrote, their strategy that succeeded.
A spokesperson for Cruz wrote into TheBlaze:
There are different forms of filibustering, in this case requiring a 60-vote threshold on all items that limited Second Amendment rights was the filibuster. They required it for the cloture vote and votes on all the amendments considered apart from the grassley-cruz amendment. And that is what raised the caliber of this debate and forced lawmakers to take a stand on these issues in a brighter spotlight than would otherwise have been cast, were it not for the 60-vote thresholds.
Cruz’s office is essentially saying that Cruz, along with Lee and Paul, used a different type of filibuster to force the Senate to reach 60 votes on each of the bill’s amendments.
This is true, but it is also true that Cruz and Co.’s initial intention was to prevent any vote on the bill at all. They did fail in that regard.
Update: An earlier version of this post said that Cruz’s spokesperson, Catherine Frazier, told us Cruz’s strategy for the filibuster had changed after debate on the gun bill began. She wrote in to say we misunderstood and that she was actually saying that Cruz’s filibuster strategy didn’t change and he stuck to it.