Ted Cruz may be running for president, but don’t worry, that hasn’t stopped him from his primary employment, failing to do his job in the Senate. This time, Cruz is reportedly holding up a bipartisan bill to provide $220 million in aid to Flint, MI to help fix their failing water infrastructure. You know, the thing that just 3 weeks ago, he called a “basic responsibility of government.” Turns out, for Ted Cruz, it’s not so basic after all.
As Politico reported, although Democrats and Republicans remarkably reached a bipartisan deal on Wednesday, Cruz and other Republicans stepped in to block a vote on the aid bill. He’s placed a so-called “soft hold” on the bill, because according to his spokeswoman, he wants more time to study the proposal’s details. Fortunately, his spokeswoman also “did not expect Cruz to hold up the bill permanently.” Politico also noted that Cruz may not be the only Republican holding up the bill, but is the only one we know about right now.
Is Cruz’s delay on the bill really an instance of him taking his job seriously and trying to be thorough with his vote? Maybe. But his time on the campaign trail means he hasn’t had as much time to devote to Senate business, and delaying this bill so he can catch up has real consequences for the people of Flint. Each day that aid is delayed, Flint residents are exposed to more dangerous lead, putting them at risk for a multitude of health consequences. Children exposed to lead face permanent developmental harms, pregnant women are at risk of miscarriage and stillbirth, and adults are at an increased risk for cancer and permanent neurological damage.
Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan tried to prompt Cruz into action by reminding him that his behavior could hurt the thing he cares about most — himself. Stabenow said that Cruz’s actions were “not a very smart move for a man who’s going to be in a primary in Michigan on March 8…And in Michigan this is a hugely bipartisan nonpartisan issue that everybody cares about.” The message is clear: if Cruz wants the support of Michigan primary voters, he may very well have to change his strategy of doing nothing in the Senate, and instead use his office to help some vulnerable people for a change.
Perhaps Ted Cruz is delaying the bill because there isn’t enough in there about school choice and small businesses, AKA the things Ted Cruz thinks are responsible for poisoning the water in Flint. But Ted, those can be addressed later. Right now, let’s at least help Flint get rid of their dangerous lead pipes. School vouchers can come later. After all, it is you who said that providing clean water is one of the “basic responsibilities of government.” Now, by delaying this Senate bill, you’re the one who is failing to meet that basic responsibility. To quote you once a gain, “it’s not rocket science.”
And Ted, if as a Senator you can’t even fulfill one of the most basic responsibilities of government, how can you ever expect us to ever trust you with more responsibility as President? It’s up to you to prove us wrong.