Some Senate Republicans recently tried and failed to strip Mitch McConnell of his leadership post.
Those same dissidents are now angling to consolidate their power in the next Congress.
Ted Cruz is among the conservatives determined to "stand up and fight" against business as usual.
Senate Republicans irate about having to spend another two years toiling away in the minority are vying to exert more influence as a MAGA clique that can muck things up for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell from now on.
"The way the Senate operates today with backroom deals and bills being added and subtracted behind closed doors is not not the way this place is supposed to operate," Sen. Ted Cruz said between votes at the US Capitol.
The Texas Republican called the unsuccessful leadership challenge Sen. Rick Scott of Florida mounted against McConnell last month "good and healthy," and said that the collective frustration with the status quo was still simmering.
"I believe we should stand up and fight. And we haven't been doing that nearly as much as we should," Cruz told Insider, adding, "And I think that discussion will remain ongoing."
Cruz is one of the McConnell foils Politico says have formed an informal "breakfast club" designed to replicate the leadership-needling power of conservatives involved with the Trump-aligned House Freedom Caucus and culture war-inclined Republican Study Committee.
Those looking to make more waves since Senate Democrats beat the odds and secured true majority control in the 118th Congress include Sens. Cruz, Scott, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Mike Lee of Utah, Rand Paul of Kentucky, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, and Mike Braun of Indiana.
Scott's commitment to sticking it to McConnell is the least surprising, given that he's been feuding with the senior Kentucky Republican throughout the treacherous 2022 election cycle. And Braun seems fine with burning bridges given that he's laying the groundwork for a 2024 run for governor in the Hoosier State.
Cruz appears content to lead the charge for now, bashing the existing GOP leadership for even contemplating an extended government funding deal that would keep Congress chugging along through summer 2023.
"I do not know how any Republican in the Senate can justify us jamming through a Nancy Pelosi spending bill when in just a couple of weeks a Republican House could pass a much better bill," Cruz said of his current mission to derail bipartisan negotiations happening between the White House and the current Senate and House leaders.
He called any such compromise "indefensible," and urged others to also dig in their heels so House Republicans have a better negotiating position next year once their narrow majority takes effect.
Graham was the only group member to bow out of signing a letter in which the others took McConnell to task for playing ball with appropriators.
"Locking the new Congress into yet another year of Democrat policies would flout the will of the voters," they warned in a letter released Wednesday, adding that doing so would hamper their ability to weigh in on "the reckless policy agenda of the last two years."
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who is trying to fend off House conservatives determined to deny him his dream of becoming speaker, has also been pushing to quash any lame duck breakthroughs.
"Any Republican that's out there trying to work with them is wrong," McCarthy recently said on Fox News. "Wait till we're in charge."
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