Sen. Michael Bennet, a Colorado Democrat normally known for his reserved demeanor, lashed out at Republicans — namely Sen. Ted Cruz — over the partial government shutdown on the Senate floor Thursday.
“These crocodile tears that the senator from Texas is crying for first responders are too hard for me to take,” Bennet said, responding to remarks made by Cruz.
Bennet noted that he “seldom” takes the floor to contradict a member because of his efforts to work in a bipartisan manner.
However, Bennet recalled when Cruz previously helped shut down the government. Cruz in 2013 notably worked to protest the Affordable Care Act, and in turn inspired votes that shut down the government for 16 days.
“When the senator from Texas shut this government down in 2013, my state was flooded. It was under water. People were killed. People’s houses were destroyed. Their small businesses were destroyed, forever. And because of the senator from Texas, this government was shut down, for politics,” Bennet shouted.
In an interview later Thursday evening with CNN’s Erin Burnett, Bennet called the situation “ridiculous.”
“I also think that it’s ridiculous that we’re even having this conversation because they haven’t spent the money that’s been appropriated for the wall. There was $1.6 billion that hasn’t yet been spent building any of the wall,” Bennet said.
He continued on “CNN’s Erin Burnett OutFront,” “And the other thing, Erin, that is just so striking about this debate is that we have a President threatening to declare an emergency, to build a wall at the border and to take the land of American citizens by eminent domain to build that wall — I can tell you if a president of the United States suggested he was going to do that to the state of Colorado, there is not a single elected politician in the state who would say that sounds like a good idea.”
The government has been shut down for more than 30 days because Republicans and Democrats are at an impasse over President Donald Trump’s demand for $5.7 billion to fund a border wall.
“How ludicrous it is that this government is shut down over a promise that the President of the United States couldn’t keep?” Bennet said on the Senate floor.
He later continued: “This idea that he was going to build a medieval wall across the southern border of Texas, take it from the farmers and ranchers that were there, and have the Mexicans pay for it isn’t true. That’s why we’re here,” Bennet said.
On Thursday, two proposals to reopen the government failed in the Senate — neither reaching the 60-vote threshold needed to advance.
“And now we’re here with the government shut down over his broken promise while the Chinese are landing spacecraft on the dark side of the moon. That’s what they’re doing,” Bennet said.