Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, the guy who brought the Republican party to its lowest poll numbers in decades by pushing for a fight over government funding in October, is at it again, filibustering the Senate's effort to pass an increase to the debt ceiling. Other GOP senators, several of whom are facing conservative primary challengers, seemed disinclined to offer the votes it would take to bring Cruz's crusade to a halt. In the end, they did: the filibuster was ended on a 67 to 31 vote and a subsequent vote passed the debt ceiling increase.
Just yesterday we boldly proclaimed that the House's passage of a clean debt ceiling increase meant "no more debt limit fights for 13 months." We were only off by 12 months, 30 days, and six hours. It was the House that was expected to be the stumbling block, of course, given the fervent far-right minority that held the House Republicans to its whim during the shutdown. That group had been egged on by Cruz, who assigned himself the role of leader of the House conservative caucus in the run up to the shutdown. After the defeat the party suffered in October, collapsing in the face of the imminent need to increase the debt ceiling so that the government could pay its debts, the House conservatives didn't put up much of a fight this week.