- Twitter / @FloorCharts
- Sen. Ted Cruz does his best Admiral Akbar impression during a Thursday floor speech.
One one hand, the Texas Republican delivered a fiery speech Thursday warning fellow GOP lawmakers the legislation would spur runaway inflation and that it was those sneaky Dems' "downpayment" on the Green New Deal.
"This is reckless, and it’s unprecedented. As Admiral Ackbar said in Star Wars, 'It’s a trap.' This is a trap,” the pop culture-obsessed Cruz said, citing a line from Return of the Jedi.
However, two days before aiming his rhetorical blaster at the infrastructure bill, Cruz pushed to make the future Interstate 14 — which would extend from West Texas through the Eastern U.S. — a top priority project in the legislation, the Houston Chronicle reports.
Indeed, the famously partisan Cruz even worked across the aisle with Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Georgia, to add the expansion as an amendment.
The cynical among us might take the view that money has something to do with the second part of Cruz's seemingly contradictory stance.
After all, the expanded highway would connect Texas' oil-rich Permian Basin with the Port of Savannah, the third-largest U.S. port. Plus, Cruz is one of the Senate's top recipients of cash from the oil and gas industry.
Between 1990 and last year, Cruz racked up $3.8 million in campaign contributions from the industry, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. Only two senators pulled in more over that time.
What's more, his single biggest donor from 2015 through 2020 — Houston's Doggett Industries — is a construction equipment company active in the Permian Basin.
Cruz's office emailed a statement defending his opposition to infrastructure bill after the Current reached out for clarification of where he stands on the measure.
"Sen. Cruz has been clear that if this bill was truly just roads and bridges and responsibly paid for, instead a deficit-busting $1.2 trillion blowout that will set up the Democrats to pass another $3.5 trillion in taxes and wasteful spending, it would get near-unanimous support," said the statement, attributable to an office spokesperson.
The spokesperson added that Cruz is proud to have backed the I-14 expansion, which the email said would tie together "key military installations to improve our national security and boost economic growth."
The statement made no mention of the Permian Basin, Texas' oil industry or the Port of Savannah.
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