WASHINGTON -- Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) accused Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) of lying and railed against the Kentucky senator's leadership during a fiery speech on the Senate floor Friday morning.
Cruz, who is running for president, was angry that McConnell will not allow senators to attach amendments to a highway funding bill -- even though McConnell indicated in January that he would allow an open amendments process as majority leader.
McConnell said on Friday that he will only allow two amendments on the bill: one to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and one to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank, which guarantees loans for those who purchase American exports and is an institution that Cruz strongly opposes. The bank's authority expired on June 30.
The Texas senator said that McConnell had previously told him that no deal had been struck to reauthorize the bank when the Senate was considering the Iran Review Act and whether to grant President Barack Obama Trade Promotion Authority.
"I cannot believe he would tell a flat-out lie," Cruz said.
Cruz also accused McConnell of running the Senate like Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) did when Democrats controlled the upper chamber.
"This Senate operates exactly the same," he said. "We keep winning elections, and we keep getting leaders who don't do anything they promise."
The exchange caught the eye of Reid spokesman Adam Jentleson, who sent an email to reporters saying that Cruz's speech helped explain a Pew poll showing that Republican favorability has dipped while Democratic favorability has remained more stable since the GOP took control of the Senate in January.
Cruz also called McConnell out for allowing a vote to repeal Obama's health care law, which the Texas senator has vowed to reverse if he is elected president. On Friday, he said that McConnell's amendment was "empty showmanship."
"We'll have a vote on repealing Obamacare. The Republicans will all vote yes, the Democrats will all vote no. ... It will be an exercise of meaningless political theatre."
Clarification: This story has been updated to indicate that McConnell said in January he would allow an open amendments process for bills in the Senate without referring to a specific bill.