AUSTIN (Nexstar) — A show of bipartisanship in Washington helped Senators pass a bill to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration. The $105-billion bill aims to improve customer service and safety for air travelers.

The deal came Thursday night, just hours before a deadline that could have led to the FAA furloughing 1000s of workers. It still needs approval in the House.

One challenge to passing a major piece of legislation is the work to keep members from stalling the bill by adding amendments or making moves to block progress unless their own priorities are added. One Senator who played a key role in managing the process for the FAA bill is someone who has a reputation for being one who normally disrupts the process: Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz.

Cruz is the ranking member of the Senate Committee of Commerce, Science and Transportation. Cruz, along with Committee Chair Maria Cantwell (D-Washington) took the lead in managing the FAA bill, to make sure the package passed.

“It really was building bipartisan compromise. And I have to say the way this bill moved forward, I think is a model for how legislation should move forward,” Cruz said in an interview for the State of Texas politics program.

Sen. Cruz elaborated on the process he and Sen. Cantwell followed to move the bill forward. “We solicited from our colleagues their priorities, and this bill incorporates amendments priorities for over 200 different amendments that came from other senators from Republicans from Democrats addressing needs and concerns they have in their states. That process was an extended negotiation as we worked through incorporating those amendments,”

The measure passed 88 – 4 in the Senate. Cruz described it as “an overwhelming bipartisan vote.”

Cruz is not normally someone associated with bipartisanship. The Hill reported that some of his fellow senators gave him some ribbing as he worked to keep the bill on track. Basically, they found it funny, since Cruz is seen as usually the one blocking legislation.

“Well, it is true that my colleagues have enjoyed giving me some grief the past couple of weeks,” Cruz said. “I sort of laughed, because when I was managing the bill, I did it on the Senate floor, from Mitch McConnell’s desk and I was threatening to carve my name in the drawer if they kept at it, which is an old tradition that you sign your desk when you’re done serving,” Cruz remembered.

But despite the perception, Cruz maintains that he has a track record of working to pass bipartisan legislation.

“You ask if it’s something new? And I would say actually, no, it is not,” Cruz said.

Still, Cruz quickly made a point to attack Democrats.

“My job for 12 years has been to fight for 30 million Texans all across our state. And that entails a number of things. One thing it entails is fighting against bad policy. So if they’re policies that hurt Texas, whether they were coming from Barack Obama, or Chuck Schumer or Joe Biden, I’ve been proud to lead the fight against them,” Cruz said. He accused Democrats of pushing for “open borders” as well as “job-killing regulations” and attacking the energy industry in Texas.

Cruz said the FAA bill is something that is good for Texas. The legislation is expected to bring billions of dollars in investments in airports and infrastructure in the state, as well as much-needed safety improvements.

“The FAA bill, it so happened, it is the 100th bill that I have authored and passed into law,” Cruz said. He’s listed as a cosponsor of the bill, with Sen. Cantwell as the bill’s sponsor.

“And so this has been something I’ve been doing the entire time drafting legislation, getting bipartisan support for that legislation, passing it into law,” Cruz said.

The emphasis on bipartisanship comes as Cruz faces an election challenge in November. Congressman Colin Allred, a Dallas Democrat, is campaigning on his record of working across the political aisle to pass legislation. He’s also made a point of highlighting some of Cruz’s more divisive work, like the Senator’s popular partisan podcast.

“While Ted Cruz was recording podcasts, I was working to pass bipartisan bills to keep our communities safe and lower health care costs,” Allred wrote in a recent post on his X account.

The race between Cruz and Allred is expected to be competitive. Campaign finance reports show Allred outpacing the incumbent Senator in fundraising. But recent history may favor Cruz. Republicans have dominated statewide elections for decades. Allred is trying to become the first Texas Democrat to win a statewide election in 30 years.