Correction appended, Nov. 12, 2015
Sen. Ted Cruz is blasting rival Sen. Marco Rubio over his support for comprehensive immigration reform in 2013, in the latest salvo against the surging Florida Republican presidential candidate.
In an interview with conservative radio host Laura Ingraham, Cruz responded to Rubio’s tougher rhetoric on immigration in recent months, saying, “Talk is cheap. You know where someone is based on their actions.”
The swipe is just a preview for a coming Cruz-Rubio showdown as aides to the pair are increasingly convinced that they will be the final two candidates standing as the GOP race continues into the spring.
Cruz, along with other conservative senators opposed to immigration reform, introduced a series of amendments to require a completely secure border before provisions of the so-called Gang of Eight bill went into effect. The bipartisan group of lawmakers who crafted the bill, which included Rubio, united to vote down most amendments from either party, including Cruz’s.
“He opposed every single one of them—every single amendment,” Cruz said, noting Rubio did not vote for language that would have explicitly prevented those who entered the U.S. illegally to obtain welfare, prevented a path to citizenship from kicking in until the border was secure, and boosted funding for the Border Patrol.
Cruz’s attack, and Rubio’s recent rhetorical shift, highlight how the legislation that once seemed to be legacy-making has become a burden as he seeks the presidency. Rubio now says that comprehensive reform is impossible, and that border security must come first before any piecemeal fixes are made to the nation’s immigration system. On Wednesday, Rubio suggested he would ramp of deportations of those in the U.S. illegally.
It’s not the first Cruz attack on Rubio. In Tuesday’s GOP debate, the Texan criticized Rubio’s support for controversial subsidies for the sugar industry, which is a significant employer in Florida. “Sugar farmers farm on roughly 0.2 percent of the farmland in America and give 40 percent of the lobbying money. That sort of corporate welfare is why we’re bankrupting our kids and grandkids,” Cruz said.“I would end the subsidies to pay for defending this nation.”
Correction: An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated how Rubio voted. Rubio did not vote on the amendments on the immigration bill.