- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 26, 2015

Without invoking his name, Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah scolded fellow Republican Sen. Ted Cruz on Sunday for publicly accusing their party leader of lying about a deal to revive an obscure government agency, saying comity in the august chamber is both tradition and simply “the honorable thing to do.”

Mr. Hatch did not call out Mr. Cruz by name, but he didn’t need to, as it was clear he was calling to task the freshman Texan who is running for president.

“We’re not here on some frolic or to pursue personal ambitions,” Mr. Hatch said, adding that he worries for the future of the institution.

He said bonds of trust are essential when lawmakers of differing parties and backgrounds come together to debate the hot topics of the day.

“But we do not become enemies. We remain colleagues, and colleagues treat each other with respect,” the longtime senator said.

Mr. Cruz shocked Capitol Hill on Friday when he said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell lied to him when he vowed there was no deal in the works to revive the federal Export-Import Bank, an agency that lapsed June 30.

Mr. McConnell had just finished saying the Senate would vote Sunday on amendments to a highway bill, a Republican priority to repeal Obamacare, and then a measure to revive the Export-Import bank, a Democratic priority that some Republicans support.

“We now know that when the majority leader looks us in the eyes and makes an explicit commitment that he is willing to say things that he knows are false. That has consequences for how this body operates,” Mr. Cruz said.

The Texan said the deal was struck as Republicans rallied support for President Obama’s trade agenda earlier this year.

He doubled down on his position Sunday, saying that while he agrees with Mr. Hatch on decorum, he feels lawmakers should be truthful with each other.

Mr. McConnell hasn’t responded to Mr. Cruz directly. But he justified himself on the floor Sunday, saying he had no choice but to allow a vote on the Export-Import bank, even though he plans to vote “no.”

“When there is overwhelming bipartisan support for an idea, even if I oppose it, it doesn’t require some ‘special deal’ to see a vote occur on that measure,” he said. “This is the United States Senate, after all, where we debate and vote on all kinds of different issues.”

Sen. John Cornyn, Texas Republican, said Mr. McConnell never sought to revive the bank.

“I’d have to say he’s mistaken,” Mr. Cornyn said of Mr. Cruz. “I hear no one else making such a similar accusation.”

He also opposed Mr. Cruz’s proposals to open up the amendment process, saying it would lead to chaos and bad policy.

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