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Durbin’s advice to GOP: Get Sen. Ted Cruz under control

Now that the GOP is taking control of the Senate in 2015, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., offered up a resolution of sorts for the opposing party to abide by next year: Get Ted Cruz under control.

Durbin’s suggestion comes days after Cruz’s disastrous maneuver last week that brought the Senate into session on Saturday, unwittingly opening the door to the approval of dozens of President Barack Obama’s judicial nominees. That infuriated Republicans, leading Cruz to apologize days later.

“It was classic Cruz. He knew how to get the headline, but he didn’t know how to close the deal,” Durbin said. 

Durbin made the remarks during an interview with the Chicago Sun-Times on Thursday.

“They’ve got to control [Cruz] and a few others,” he said when asked what advice he would offer to the GOP next year. “Just like [U.S. Speaker John] Boehner has to contend with the Tea Party in the House, Cruz and a few others have the potential of wrecking any agenda [GOP leader Mitch] McConnell comes up with. So he has to control his caucus.”

Durbin talked about how U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., was likely to play a more prominent role as part of the progressive caucus next year, and how Democrats’ strength in the U.S. Senate will shift in the New Year, following mid-term elections in which Republicans swept across the country.

“Our only bargaining strength is through the White House. It comes down to this: If it reaches the point of bargaining between Republicans in Congress and the president, and if the president says, ‘Don’t do that, I’ll have to veto it.’

“The question is whether 34 Democrats in the Senate will stand with the president. Because then [Republicans] can’t override a veto,” he said.

Durbin predicted Warren would hold a “more starring role” next year. “The progressive majority of our caucus is going to play a pretty large role in whether the 34 votes will be there,” to block a veto override, Durbin said.

As for political talk of 2015, Durbin said he was unsure whether U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., would run for U.S. Senate.  

“She has never told me that she wants to run. I’ll leave it to her to make that decision,” Durbin said. “There are several people looking at it, some of them are deferring, waiting for her decision.”