While the members of the conservative Freedom Caucus and Sen. Rand Paul have found the Republican #Obamacare replacement bill weighed in the balance and found wanting, at least for the first day or so Sen #Ted Cruz, who made repealing and replacing the Obama-era health care reform law one of his signature issues, was silent. But, according to the Texas Tribune, the #Texas Senator, and former presidential candidate has made his mind known and, as many expected, Cruz was negative as well.
Cruz stated, “The current draft in the House is a draft about which I have significant concerns. As drafted, I do not believe this bill would pass the United States Senate. But I am encouraged and optimistic that we can resolve these differences."
Cruz is using the controversy surrounding the bill to position himself as a deal maker to get the thing passed, hence his gentler than usual criticism. By a happy chance, Cruz and his wife Heidi are due to have dinner with the Trumps at the private residence on March 8. The affair is described as “social, ” but it will also be political. Healthcare reform is more than likely to come up.
Cruz is in an awkward position with the president. The two men had hard words for each other during the campaign but have since tried to repair relations. Cruz is going to face some kind of primary opposition to his bid for reelection to the Senate and thus could use the goodwill of the man whom he once called a “sniveling coward.”
One way that Cruz could get that goodwill is to be a facilitator for the passage of the Obamacare replacement in the Senate, thus handing Trump a legislative victory. Trump will have to give something to mollify the conservatives who are balking at the tax credit. But if Cruz can pull off this example of “the art of the deal” in the Senate, his stature will be enhanced as someone who can make things happen. Thus he will have transformed from an opposition leader willing to cause the president to shut down the government to defund Obamacare to the governing kind.