Republican Senators Ted Cruz And Jeff Sessions Hold News Conference On Immigration

By Manu Raju
12/16/14 3:25 PM EST
Updated 12/16/14 4:27 PM EST

Ted Cruz privately apologized to GOP senators Tuesday for interrupting their holiday schedules by his surprise tactics that effectively brought the Senate into session over the weekend.

According to five senators who attended Tuesday’s caucus lunch, Cruz offered the apology in unsolicited remarks, saying that he regretted if any of his colleagues’ schedules were ruined by his maneuvering. He didn’t say whether he would do something similar again, senators said.

And unlike a contentious lunch last year after GOP senators pointedly blamed Cruz for prompting the government shutdown, no sharp words were directed at the Texas freshman at Tuesday’s lunch, according to the attendees. Republicans do not expect Cruz to prevent the Senate from finishing its work promptly this week.

“Yes, the senator acknowledged that a number of his colleagues had to unexpectedly change their weekend plans, and he apologized to them for inconveniencing their personal schedules. That was not his intention,” Cruz spokeswoman Catherine Frazier said. “His intention was to secure a vote on President [Barack] Obama’s illegal executive amnesty, and to use every procedural means to do so.”

The comments cap a tumultuous several days for Cruz, who, along with his counterpart, Utah Sen. Mike Lee, suddenly scuttled a bipartisan deal Friday that would have prevented weekend votes in the Senate. After Lee objected to the agreement, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) brought the Senate back into session Saturday and began to advance nearly two dozen of the president’s stalled nominees.

Republican senators were furious, arguing that Cruz and Lee had effectively paved the way for the confirmation of controversial judicial and executive branch nominees, several of whom would have otherwise been blocked in a GOP-led Senate next year. And they were just as angry that they were blindsided by the move, having to suddenly rearrange their schedules to return to Washington on a rare Saturday session that gave Democrats a sudden advantage in the nominees’ fight.

New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte had returned home Friday night with plans to see “The Nutcracker” with her children on Saturday, but suddenly she scrapped her plans when she got the call that she needed to head back to the airport and return to Washington. Sen. Dan Coats was planning to return to Indiana when he got word of Cruz’s and Lee’s moves at 11:30 p.m. Friday. And Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee, the incoming chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was forced to abandon plans for a quick trip to Iraq, Turkey and Kuwait in advance of next year’s fight over an authorization of military force in the war against Islamic State militants.

To read entire story, click here.