A pair of senators clashed on the Senate floor Wednesday over a school safety bill, with the Republican senator quipping if the Democrat “just shut his mouth,” then both of their measures would be law.
Senators Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Chris Murphy, D-Conn., got into a heated exchange over the Texas senator’s bill after the Connecticut senator objected to Cruz’s movement to bring his bill, the Securing Our Schools Act of 2022, up for a vote.
“What we just saw on this floor was stunning. I am genuinely at a loss for words,” Cruz said. “This bill is common sense. There is not a constituent in Texas, or Nevada, or Connecticut, if you asked would it be a good thing to have more police officers keeping our kids safe, they’d say ‘of course, it would.’”
Cruz put Murphy on blast over his objection to his bill, saying he heard Murphy would be blocking the legislation while noting that the Democrat “styles himself the leading advocate of gun control in the U.S. Senate.”
The Texas Republican said Democrats haven’t told him why they are objecting to his bill and that he was “genuinely looking forward to” hearing Murphy’s remarks.
“The fact that he chose not to say a word about why he objects is stunning,” Cruz said. “I find myself genuinely flabbergasted.”
Cruz also slammed Murphy for walking off the floor after blocking his bill, saying it was because there were “precisely zero reporters” in the Senate press gallery, and blasted the Connecticut Democrat’s gun control legislation he “rammed through” the Senate.
“There are lots of arguments the senator from Connecticut could have made. He chose to make none of them,” Cruz said before asking for another vote on his bill.
Murphy returned to the Senate floor to maintain his block and return fire against Cruz, attacking his speech as “a TV show” and “clickbait.”
“The senator is right: I’m not going to engage in a colloquy on the merits of this request or the previous request. This isn’t real. This is a TV show, this is clickbait, this is theater. This isn’t an actual attempt to pass legislation.”
Murphy said he was asked by Senator James Lankford, R-Ok., to “engage in a dialogue” over the bill, saying he believed it to be a “legitimate request.”
“And now there is a unanimous consent request to pass a bill that’s under negotiation, discussion between serious legislators who actually want to find results,” Murphy said.
“So, no, I’m not going to debate the merits of these [unanimous consent requests], this isn’t real,” he continued as he objected again, took off his microphone, and departed the floor a second time.
“Madam President, the senator from Connecticut just gave us the sum total of his wisdom as he walks off the floor again,” Cruz fired back. “Which is he says this isn’t real.”
“The senator from Connecticut says this isn’t real,” the Texas senator said. “The only reason this bill has not passed the United States Senate is because the senator from Connecticut stood up and uttered two magic words: ‘I object.’”
“Had he done something really simple — just shut up, just shut his mouth, just sat there — we would be standing in a position where both of these bills would have been passed into law,” Cruz said.
A unanimous consent request moves a bill out of its committee and brings it up for a vote on either the House or Senate floor.
Cruz’s bill would allow schools to reinvest unused COVID-19 funds to enhance school security with schools having expanded control of how to spend the money. Texas Republican Rep. Randy Weber is leading the House companion bill.
The bill would also put $15 billion behind school safety personnel and would double the number of police officers in schools.
Additionally, the bill would invest $10 billion into hiring 15,000 school mental health professionals to prevent future mass shootings.