Republican 'Old Guard' pushes back against Cruz and Lee

The GOP "Old Guard" in the Senate Sunday pushed back against outspoken conservative critics, avoiding direct attacks on Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, but making it clear his recent renegade actions are unwelcome in the upper chamber.

Without saying a word, the Republican conference sent a powerful message to Cruz and other conservatives like Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, by not backing their efforts to add amendments to a "must-pass" highway spending bill.

"Deliberation and reasoned judgment require an atmosphere of restraint, an atmosphere of thoughtful disagreement," Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, who serves as the Senate pro tempore and is the longest-serving GOP lawmaker, said in a floor speech Sunday. "Deliberation without decorum is not deliberation at all. It is bickering. And bickering, Mr. President, is beneath this body."

Hatch delivered much of the unofficial censure Sunday, criticizing Cruz for his Senate floor speech Friday where he accused Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of 'flat-out' lying about the highway bill.