Texas Sen. Ted Cruz has been among the most vocal Republican senators in pushing the latest strategy to defund Obamacare.
“Now is the best time,” Cruz said in an email interview with The Daily Caller.
Using this strategy, which is also favored by Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee and Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, lawmakers would refuse to vote for a continuing resolution to keep funding the federal government unless President Obama’s healthcare law is defunded as part of the legislation.
Under current law, the government is funded until Sept. 30, meaning a continuing resolution needs to be passed to keep the government from shutting down.
But inside the Republican Party, many lawmakers object to the strategy, saying it gives false hope because it simply won’t work. Without having control of the Senate or the presidency, such legislation would be impossible to pass.
The Daily Caller attempted to have a high-profile Republican on both sides of the debate answer four of the same questions about the strategy. While Cruz agreed to answer questions, no Republican that TheDC contacted on the other side of the issue would agree to do the same.
Through spokespeople, Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina, Sen. John McCain of Arizona, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan and former White House aide Karl Rove all declined to participate. All have spoken out against the strategy.
Here are the four questions posed to Cruz by The Daily Caller:
What precisely is your strategy to defund Obamacare and what’s your best argument for employing this method?
Cruz: Now is the best time: There is bipartisan agreement that Obamacare isn’t working. It’s killing jobs, causing more and more Americans to be driven into part-time employment, causing employers to drop health insurance and dramatically increasing health insurance premiums. Even the unions — President Obama’s most reliable allies — are jumping ship.
The Constitution gives Congress the power of the purse, the most important check we have on an overreaching executive. Now is the best chance we have to exercise this power in order to defund Obamacare. It can be done as part of passing the Continuing Resolution (CR) — a piece of legislation that funds the government and must be renewed by September 30th.
The Continuing Resolution gives us real leverage to defund Obamacare. Fighting this fight won’t be easy, but it’s now or never. President Obama’s strategy is simple: on January 1, the subsidies kick in. President Obama wants to get as many Americans addicted to the subsidies because he knows that in modern times, no major entitlement has ever been implemented and then unwound. That’s why the administration announced that it won’t enforce eligibility requirements–essentially encouraging fraud and “liar loans”–because that way the most people possible will get addicted to the sugar.
To stop that from happening, the House should pass a new Continuing Resolution to fund the entire federal government except Obamacare. The House should include a rider in that bill that explicitly prohibits any federal dollars – discretionary and mandatory – from being spent on it. Republicans control the House, and have already voted some 40 times to repeal Obamacare, so if we stand together, we can do this.
Then the bill comes to the Senate. Republicans need just 41 votes to prevent Democrats from passing legislation that funds Obamacare – 45 Republicans in the Senate have already voted to repeal Obamacare, so if we stand together, we can do this also.
At that point, we simply have to continue to stand together and not blink. If Republicans are truly against Obamacare, they will not vote to fund it.
While the ultimate goal is to repeal the law in its entirety, defunding is a crucial step so we can stop the law from being implemented before Americans get hooked on the subsidies. We cannot just wait for Republicans to take back the Senate to repeal the law. We owe it to Americans to prevent as much of it from being implemented as possible right now.
If we hold 41 Republicans in the Senate or 218 Republicans in the House, we can win the fight because no Continuing Resolution can pass without our support.
And, for any Republicans who disagree, the following question is revealing: what is your alternative? All the various suggestions (delaying the individual mandate, removing the IRS from Obamacare) are fine and good — but none of them can happen before January 1. The House can have a symbolic vote on all of them, but Harry Reid will kill every one.
The only way to force passage is to condition the CR on defunding Obamacare. Otherwise, the so-called alternatives don’t stop the subsidies on January 1; and, if it’s correct that, once implemented, it will never be unwound (and no Republican has effectively refuted that premise), then not fighting on the CR is effectively saying we surrender and will allow Obamacare to become a permanent feature of our economy, hurting jobs and growth in perpetuity.