Cruz: Republicans Need to 'Stand Up and Win' the Obamacare Argument
(CNSNews.com) - The Republican-led House of Representatives should pass a continuing resolution that funds the entire federal government, except for Obamacare, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) told Fox News's Greta Van Susteren Thursday night.
"Now, the next step -- we know what will happen. We've seen this really before. President Obama and Harry Reid will scream and yell, 'Why are the mean, nasty Republicans threatening to shut down the government?' And at that point, Greta, we've got to do something that conservatives haven't done in a long time.
"We've got to stand up and win the argument. We've got to stand up and say, 'No, we have voted to fund the government. We want to fund the government. We don't want to shut down the government. Why is President Obama threatening to shut down the government?'"
Cruz noted that President Obama already has delayed the Obamacare requirements that apply to businesses, but not the mandates that apply to individuals. "Why is President Obama threatening to shut down the government in order to deny those same waivers to hard-working American families?" Cruz asked. "I think that's an argument we can win if only Republicans can find the courage to stand up, to stand together and make it."
Because Democrats refuse to go along with defunding Obamacare in a continuing resolution, they say the blame for a government shutdown would fall on Republicans. In fact, a shutdown would give Democrats something to run on in the 2014 midterm election.
Cruz said partial government shutdowns have happened previously -- in 1995, for example, when nonessential government functions stopped, but the military, Medicare, Social Security, and the interest on the debt continued to be paid.
"But in my view, we shouldn't shut down the government," Cruz added. "We should stand strong and say Obamacare isn't working. It's failing. There's bipartisan agreement. And so we're not going to fund Obamacare. And if President Obama chooses to force a shutdown, a partial, temporary shutdown, then we have to stand together and turn up the heat until the Democrats listen to the American people."
Cruz said the fight to defund Obamacare cannot be won in Washington: "That's why I'm not trying to make the case in Washington, D.C. I'm trying to make the case to the American people, because I think there's a new paradigm of politics where the American people are rising up. Just a few weeks ago a national website launched Dontfundit.com. In just a few weeks, nearly half a million Americans have signed that website. If we can see between now and September 30th millions of Americans come together, sign the petition at Dontfundit.com, call their senators, call their representatives. That's how we get this done. It has to come from the people. It won't come from Washington."
He urged Americans to "hold every elected official accountable."
On Thursday, 80 out of 233 Republican house members sent a letter to House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor, urging them to join the defunding effort. That letter read in part:
"Since much of the implementation of Obamacare is a function of teh discretionary appropriations process, including the operation of the 'mandatory spending' portions of the law, and since most of the citizens we represent believe that Obamacare should never go into effect, we urge you to affirmatively de-fund the implemetation and enforcement of Obamacare in any relevant appropriations bill brought to the House floor in the 113th Congress, including any continuing appropriations bill."
As many of us have quoted before, James Madison wrote in Federalist No. 58, that the "power over the purse may, in fact, be regarded as the the most complete and effectual weapon...for obtaining a reress of every grievance..." We look forward to collaborating to defund one of the largest grievances in our time and to restore patient-centered healthcare in America."
Cruz told Fox News that the number of Republicans who support defunding has grown from 60 to 80 -- so "momentum is going in the right direction," he said.
"Look, the traditional Washington way of decision making doesn't work," Cruz said. "I mean, it's what's produced $17 trillion in national debt. You don't get that without a whole lot of bipartisan cooperation. And the frustration the American people feel is that our elected leaders aren't listening to us.
"Obamacare is the biggest job killer in the country. Just yesterday I sat down at a round table in Kerrville, Texas, with 20 small business owners. I asked them all, what are the challenges you're facing? Over half of the small business owners said the biggest impediment they are facing to growth and jobs is Obamacare."
Press reports say that Boehner, in a Thursday conference call with Republicans, said he would try to avoid a government shutdown at the end of September by passing a short term funding bill when Congress returns. According to those reports, Boehner did not discuss the push to defund Obamacare.