WASHINGTON — The sequel to Government Shutdown – the 2013 battle that caused the closing of national parks and museums, cost the U.S. economy $20 billion, and hurt the Republican Party’s popularity – is slated for this fall and will feature the same star: Ted Cruz.

The Texas senator, now a Republican presidential candidate, is rallying the faithful behind the same strategy as led to a two-week hiatus of government services in October 2013, when he led the party in holding up a government funding bill in an attempt to strip money for Obamacare. This time, Cruz is using a Sept. 30 funding deadline to push for stripping Planned Parenthood’s $500 million in annual federal dollars. The women’s health care provider has become a target of the right after undercover videos surfaced this summer of group officials discussing the cost of aborted fetal tissue.

The resurrected strategy puts Cruz’s fellow presidential contenders in a pickle. It is discomfiting to Republican leaders who have been down this road before and fully expect it to end in failure, as it did with the Affordable Care Act, as well as damage the party’s image going into an election year where Republicans are defending 24 Senate seats along with their Senate majority.

Cruz, who has made his willingness to defy party leaders one of his political calling cards, is already in attack mode. In an Aug. 25 call, the Texan told a large group of evangelical pastors that Republican leaders want an “empty show vote” that “has no teeth or no consequence” and will ultimately keep funding Planned Parenthood. He urged them to be “preaching from the pulpit” about the value of the unborn.

It’s the same argument he made in 2013: if the government shuts down, it won’t be his or the Republicans’ fault. But it didn’t work out that way. The Republican Party’s approval rating sank to an all-time low during the 2013 shutdown, according to Gallup. History shows that the party controlling Congress, not the White House, takes most of the blame for shutdowns. But even if the 2013 drama wasn’t good for his party, it did help Cruz, turning him into a conservative hero. On the campaign trail, he has consistently defended the shutdown on the campaign trail, arguing that it brought millions of Americans into the political debate. Reviving that hero status will come in handy in the run-up to the Iowa caucuses on Feb. 1.

Cruz’s co-stars in this year’s drama will be the other three Republican senators running for president: Florida’s Marco Rubio, Kentucky’s Rand Paul, and South Carolina’s Lindsey Graham, all of whom are struggling to gain traction in a primary field dominated by Donald Trump. Cruz and Rubio are battling for top-five positions, while Paul and Graham are sinking. Though reluctant warriors in the 2013 shutdown, the three senators followed Cruz’s lead. Now Cruz is again forcing them to make a political choice that could alienate them from the party’s conservative base.

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