Sen. Charles Schumer said Wednesday that House GOP Speaker John A. Boehner is taking his marching orders from Texas Sen. Ted Cruz — likening the two Republicans to a marionette doll and its puppeteer.
Mr. Schumer, New York Democrat, said that Mr. Boehner has failed to pass a bill funding all government operations out of the House because of opposition from tea party-backed lawmakers and their supporters, who are demanding the shutdown to stop or slow down President Obama’s health care law.
“Speaker Boehner’s in this position because, sadly, he’s become a puppet, with Ted Cruz pulling the strings,” Mr. Schumer said.
Mr. Cruz has been a driving force behind the push on Capitol Hill to tie efforts to defund or delay Obamcare to bills to fund government operations.
The Texas Republican’s effort failed in the Senate, but has had some legs in the House, where Republicans have refused to take up a spending bill that Senate Democrats passed to keep government open and fund Obamacare through Nov. 15.
House Republicans successfully pushed a bill to fund the military during the shutdown.
Mr. Cruz cheered the proposal, and has since called on Congress to pass another targeted spending bill to fully fund the Defense Department and the intelligence community.
House Republicans, meanwhile, are pushing to fund various branches of programs of the government, including veterans programs, national parks and museums.
Those efforts, at least so far, have also failed — sparking additional backlash from Senate Democrats, who say that it is time for the GOP to stop trying to force lawmakers to pick and choose what government programs should be funded.
“Senator Cruz has driven Speaker Boehner to pit kids who should be enrolled in Head Start against kids who should be enrolled in cancer trials,” Mr. Schumer said. “He’s driven the speaker to pit families who want to visit the Statue of Liberty against families who own a small business and need help from the [Small Business Administration]. He’s pit Americans against one another. He doesn’t mind, but Speaker Boehner should.”