Speaking to radio host Rush Limbaugh on Wednesday, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, who is pushing fellow conservative lawmakers to support his campaign to defund the Affordable Care Act, said Republicans have “gotta sit down and figure out just who we are, where we are, and where we’re going.”
His comments suggested that both Obamacare and the unfolding events in Syria should serve as rallying point for members of his party, and, depending on the GOP’s course of action, the next few months could be a watershed moment for the party, similar to the 1995 government shutdown.
That government shutdown was prompted by a conflict between then-President Bill Clinton and Republicans in Congress over funding for Medicare, education, the environment, and public health in the 1996 federal budget. Clinton vetoed the spending bill the Republican-controlled Congress sent him, and as a result, the government suspended non-essential services for 28 days.
That event caused “short-term political pain,” Cruz acknowledged, “but, at the same time, because Republicans stood together, we saw year after year of balanced budgets which never would have happened if Republicans had folded like they’re trying to fold right now.”
Cruz believes Republican efforts to “delay” Obamacare implementation is akin to non action, an exercise of political cover. “Republicans are still not ready to stand up and do what it takes to stop this law, to listen to the American people and say, ‘Listen, let’s get rid of this job killer,’” Cruz said.
He argued that that the only plan to halt the health care reform with a “realistic prospect of success” is using the vote over the continuing resolution for government funding. The division in the Republican party over that plan is both “unfortunate and it’s disappointing,” he said. What is even more unfortunate is that when he and fellow Senator Mike Lee have asked for other solutions, “for months the answer has been crickets,” he said.
Former Speaker of the House and presidential candidate Newt Gingrich has also expressed disappointment in his fellow Republicans. While the GOP has put up a tough resistance against the healthcare reform championed by President Barack Obama — leading nearly 40 attempts to repeal or defund all or parts of the legislation known as Obamacare — the party has yet to develop a better alternative. Unlike Cruz, he believes to win the Obamacare fight, Republicans “have to be able to explain to people what we would do to make your life better.”
“I think what should happen is the House should pass a continuing resolution,” the senator told Limbaugh. “It should fund every bit of federal government except Obamacare.”
The problems with the Affordable Care are two-fold, according to Cruz. “Look, Rush, Obamacare, as you know, is the biggest job killer in the country, and the wheels are falling off of this thing,” he said. “The unions are jumping ship. People are losing their jobs. They’re having their hours forcibly reduced. Just last week UPS told 18,000 employees, ‘You’re losing your spousal coverage. Your husbands and wives are losing their health insurance because of Obamacare.’”
For reference, the leaked UPS (NYSE:UPS) memorandum said: “Since the Affordable Care Act requires employers to provide affordable coverage, we believe your spouse should be covered by their own employer — just as UPS has a responsibility to offer coverage to you, our employee.”
Cruz’s words also imparted a sense of urgency. “President Obama’s strategy is very simple,” he said. “He wants to get as many Americans as possible addicted to the subsidies, addicted to the sugar, because he knows that in modern times, no major entitlement has ever been implemented and then unwound.” In other words, when the exchanges are “up and running” it will be too late.
The senator also explained what he thinks is Obama’s larger plan. The penalty for refusing to buy health insurance — $95 or 1 percent of income, whichever is greater — will prompt more Americans to chose the fine than insurance, meaning insurance companies will not be “selling policies” and go out of business.
“That’s exactly the intent is to destroy the private insurance business, to cause people to lose their private health insurance and be forced, essentially, to move to single-payer, government-provided health insurance, which was Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama’s plan from day one,” Cruz said.
As he told Limbaugh, Obamacare is a symptom of a larger problem. “This has been an imperial presidency. It has been a lawless presidency. And fundamentally, actually, these two issues — you look at Syria, you look at Obamacare. They’re tied together. They’re tied together by an arrogance of this administration, that they don’t believe they’re accountable to the American people, and they are going to jam their agenda down the throats of the American people,” Cruz said.
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