Here's how Ted Cruz inadvertently handed Kamala Harris a massive amount of power
With Democrats poised to win both Georgia Senate races, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris could become a crucial tie-breaking vote in an evenly divided Senate.
While this would ordinarily put Harris in a powerful position, Bloomberg News reporter Steven Dennis points out that Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) in 2017 inadvertently gave Harris even more power with his bid to expand the use of budget reconciliation to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
"In 2017, Ted Cruz invented a way for 2021's Kamala Harris to do, well, an awful lot," Dennis writes. "And all it requires is 50 Senate votes and using the existing Senate rules and budget law."
The Bloomberg reporter then linked to one of his articles from four years ago that explained how Cruz's precedent-setting gambit to repeal Obamacare worked.
In particular, Cruz wanted to "lean on Vice President Mike Pence" in his role as the Senate president to bypass "procedural limits" that would have prevented the GOP from using budget reconciliation to enact a more comprehensive repeal of Obamacare.
"The move relies on a radical interpretation of the vice president's constitutional role as presiding officer of the Senate, where he could step in and effectively overrule the chamber's parliamentarian," the article notes. "It would resemble the so-called nuclear option of ending filibusters and risk fundamentally altering the way Congress works."
However, Dennis also writes that Cruz never got to put this plan into action because he never had 50 votes in the Senate for a full Obamacare repeal.
"The key to the Ted Cruz option is you need 50 votes and VP to go along," he writes. "He didn't have nearly 50 votes to take down all of the ACA, nor skinny repeal, and the Cruz option was effectively stillborn."
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