Government shutdown: Colorado Senator blasts Ted Cruz's 'crocodile tears' in impassioned floor speech

Staff Reporter

Former Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz was accused of "crying crocodile tears" over the US government shutdown, during a blistering speech by Colorado senator Michael Bennet.

Pointing out that first responders were going without pay, Mr Bennet reminded the Texan politician that he had previously supported a shutdown six years ago, when Colorado was hit with poor weather.

“When the Senator from Texas shut this government down in 2013 my state was flooded,” the Democrat told the US Senate. “It was underwater. People were killed! People's houses were destroyed! Their small businesses were ruined forever and because of the Senator from Texas, this government was shut down for politics. Then he surfed to a second place finish in the Iowa caucuses.”

Directing his ire at Donald Trump, he said: "How ludicrous this is that the government is shut down over a promise the president of the United States couldn’t keep."

His comments came as the US Senate rejected two bills to end the government shutdown, leaving no end in sight to the record-breaking closure of federal agencies. The Republican legislation garnered 50 votes with 47 against, with 52-44 for the Democratic bill. Both measures needed 60 votes to pass.

Meanwhile, 800,000 federal workers who are struggling to cover their bills will miss another payday this week.

While the Democratic controlled Congress has repeatedly passed bills to reopen the government, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has refused to bring a bill to the floor for a vote that Mr Trump would veto, even if there were majority support in the chamber.