TheDC: On some issues, in terms of dream legislation, if you could snap your fingers and tomorrow see three pieces of legislation passed, what would they be?
Cruz: My first priority in the U.S. Senate will be to help lead the fight to repeal every single word of Obamacare. And that, come January, is going to be an epic battle. That’s not going to be easy to accomplish. My second priority will be to lead the effort to bring people together to dramatically shrink the size, power and spending of the federal government. And a critical element of that, and what I would list as third, is to help lead the effort to pass a strong balanced budget amendment, so that the constitution can serve actually as Thomas Jefferson put it: as chains to bind the mischief of government.
TheDC: How do you come down on eliminating specific federal cabinet agencies and departments? Do you have specific ones you’d like to see thrown out?
Cruz: I am all for it. We’re in a crisis. Our national debt is larger than our gross domestic product. We are barreling down the road to where Greece and Italy and much of Europe find themselves. And we need serious leadership to stop it. I think we should shrink the size and power of the federal government by every and any means possible. What does that mean?
That means eliminating unnecessary or unconstitutional agencies. The first agency I would eliminate would be the U.S. Department of Education. I think education is far too important to be governed by unelected bureaucrats in Washington. I think it should be at the state level, or even better, at the local level where parents have direct influence over the education of our kids.
I would eliminate the U.S. Department of Commerce. I would eliminate the U.S. Department of Energy. I would eliminate the National Endowment of the Arts. I think the arts are terrific. But I see no reason why unelected bureaucrats spend your and mine tax dollars on arts they happen to like.
And the agency I’d most like to eliminate is the IRS through fundamental tax reform.
TheDC: On that topic, Mitt Romney says a Romney administration would explore cuts to agencies and departments but he’s wary of getting very specific about which ones before Election Day because politically it’s best to get into office before doing that. Is that smart or do you wish he’d get more specific?
Cruz: I think the Romney campaign is doing an excellent job of focusing on economic and fiscal issues. Indeed that’s the reason I was so thrilled that Gov. Romney picked Paul Ryan as his vice presidential nominee. Because the most direct consequence of picking Paul Ryan is it ensures the conversation for the next two months will be on fiscal and economic issues. And if we’re discussing the grave fiscal and economic challenges facing this country, if we’re discussing Barack Obama’s abysmal economic record, then I believe Republicans win in November.
TheDC: You’re a rising star and some have even mentioned that it could be you here being nominated for president by Republicans one day. What do you say when people say that?
Cruz: Look, my focus is on Election Day 68 days from today. And I’m spending every day between now and Election Day, 18 hours a day, crisscrossing the state of Texas, attempting to make my case to the voters of Texas that they should entrust me with the responsibility of representing our great state in the United States Senate and helping lead the effort to pull our nation back from the abyss.