In an appearance last night on Fox News’ On the Record with Greta Van Susteren, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) discussed his recent filibuster of funding for Obamacare, saying his efforts were merely “fighting for the people.”
Cruz spoke for over 21 hours on Tuesday in attempt to strip funding of Obamacare, even at the risk of a government shutdown. He said the filibuster was not symbolic, but part of a real effort to save Americans from what he thinks is a disastrous program. “What matters is the substance – stopping this train wreck of a law,” he said. Cruz also points out that during the shutdown crisis, Republicans have attempted to pass several measures that would stop government shutdowns by continuing government funding and payments on debts, but Democrats have voted them all down.
The following transcript, provided by Sen. Cruz’s office, includes the full interview (GVS is Greta Van Susteren, and TC is Ted Cruz):
GVS: He is not giving up the fight to defeat Obamacare. Senator Cruz joins us, nice to see you, sir.
TC: Always nice to be back.
GVS: 95 Republicans crossed over and voted with the democrats and you say it’s not over. Where does it go from here?
TC: To the House of Representatives. Last week the house stood strong. They passed a strong bill that defunded Obamacare. They listened to the people. I’m hopeful and optimistic they’ll sign a strong bill and send it back to the Senate and I hope this time back in the Senate that Senate Republicans come together and stand shoulder to shoulder with house Republicans to actually fix this disaster of a law.
GVS: What makes you think that would happen? Because if it goes — it is going back to the house an say the house puts back in the defunding of Obamacare, the same bill and ships it back across to the Senate, why would you expect the Senate to vote any different this time around?
TC: I don’t know if they’ll put in the same language or something else. What I think is critical is that they act to stop the harmful consequences that millions of Americans are feeling because of Obamacare. One of the things we tried to focus on this week is all of the millions of American who is are struggling to find jobs because of Obamacare, facing the threat of being forcibly forced into premiums and seeing the health care threatened to be taken away because of Obamacare and I think it’s critical in the house step up and stop that damage, stand for the American people and if they do that, I hope the second time around is an opportunity for Senate Republicans to come home and stand united and I hope that’s what we do.
GVS: I guess I’m a little bit — I’m — I don’t think that’s likely to happen in the Senate. You know the Senate better than I do. I don’t think the vote is likely to change. Would you be satisfied if the house bill that came back to the Senate was one that delayed Obamacare for one year? Didn’t defund it but declared it for a year. Is that something to stand behind?
TC: I don’t think to dictate terms to the House of Representatives. They’re 435 members. Each is elected in their district and has to be accountable.
GVS: Is that something that you consider it something that would be effective in your strategy if you could put it off for one year?
TC: For me, what I have said is that I will not vote for any continuing resolution that funds Obamacare because I think Obamacare is a disaster, a train wreck, a nightmare. You know? I’ll note the last two terms, train wreck is what the lead author of Obamacare called it and nightmare is what James Hoffa President of the teamsters called it. I hope that the house continues to do what they do. I want to salute Speaker Boehner and leader cantor and house leadership for joining arm in arm, bringing together the Republicans in the house, to listen to the American people. That’s what they did last time and I hope and believe they’ll continue to do that.
GVS: I guess, I don’t want to beat a dead horse, so if they came back, the house, and said two choices, one is to revisit in a year or postpone it in a year, I guess revisit in a year would not be a funding. Right? That’s probably something to live with? Don’t know?
TC: Anything that stops the harmful consequences of Obamacare for millions of Americans is a good thing.
GVS: For a year or do you want it decided now?
TC: Look. If you ask me what I like, I like it for all time but I’m certainly someone to take what’s critical is are we fighting for the people and we making the lives better? If we are doing that, we’re doing our jobs and to I’m much more interested in the substance. Are we stopping the harms from Obamacare that millions of Americans are suffering? And if we are, that’s good. If we’re not, you know, what I’m not interested in that a lot of people in Washington sometimes focus on is just a political victory. What matters is the substance, standing up and stopping this train wreck of a law.
GVS: Suppose hypothetically that the vote went your way and it’s defunded but the continuing resolution funds the government for 45 days. Do you have any problem with that limping along aspect of it? That’s a second part is that we have these ridiculous — that’s my view — 45 days to fund the government and back talking about it instead of a real solid economic plan.
TC: Well, you know, there are a couple of causes for that. One is that Congress for a long time hasn’t done its job and passed the appropriation bill to pass and if we passed the appropriation bill, if we made the hard decisions about where to spend and where to cut, we wouldn’t have a continuing resolution at all. That only happens when congress hasn’t appropriated as we haven’t this year. But secondly, if you look at the government by crisis, it doesn’t have to happen. Senator Rob Portman, Republican from Ohio, has a bill he’s introduced that would take continuing resolutions and take shut downs off the table, would say, in the event that a continuing resolution doesn’t pass, you don’t have a shutdown. You continue and gradually government funding goes down but it doesn’t just go off a cliff. The Democrats don’t want to pass that. Why? Because they want government by crisis. The house and the continuing resolution they just passed had a provision of the full faith and credit law and what I like to call is a default prevention act saying if the debt ceiling isn’t raised the United States will never, ever, ever default on its debt. It’s a great common sense provision. The Democrats just voted to strip it out. The Democrats stood together and what they said, interesting, Harry Reid ridicules that as the “Pay China First” law and the Democrats are now all on record saying they affirmatively want to use the risk of a default to scare the American people and want to use the risk of a government shutdown to scare the American people. I think that’s irresponsible and we should do our jobs.
GVS: Give me little behind the scenes. When you see Harry Reid on the floor in the last 24 hours, did you look each other in the face or look away or hi, how are you doing?
TC: All the Senators are cordial with each other. They’re not necessarily the warmest chummiest relationships but everyone treats each other civilly.
GVS: That’s pretty — doesn’t sound so civil. I heard on the floor when the time ran out, Senator Harry Reid, it was a waste of time was his response. There was no sort of I don’t agree with you, Senator, but 20 hours and 19.S, pretty amazing. He could have said it that way. He was insulting.
TC: Well, you know, may not have been the height of graciousness but look, at the end of the day, doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter bickering back and forth between a handful of Washington politicians. Most people don’t care. What matters I think is the substance.
GVS: I think it does matter a little bit and tells the American people, watching sort of a school yard brawl or are we watching people with deep ideological differences and, you know, we’re having a debate and maybe sometimes you can convince or persuade or negotiate and then with the name calling, it is unseemly, I think.
TC: Harry Reid made that decision to do that before. He’s ci guess, those of us trying to defund Obamacare anarchists and I think a schoolyard bully and, Greta, I don’t reciprocate and I don’t intend to.
GVS: Senator McCain thinks some ways the Republicans that don’t agree, appeasers. They weren’t insulted by that.
TC: The focus that I try to keep throughout the filibuster and throughout this discussion is on the substance of the bill and the point I immediate, look, there’s an extended discussion there when we started to defunding, there were voices, pundits, those in the Republican parties saying we can’t win, we can’t win, we can’t, we can’t win and the more you say that it’s a self-fulfilling prophesy. If Republicans turn their guns on themselves and shoot us trying to stop it, it makes it much harder to win. I went through the centuries of all of the battles in the united states, all of the great challenges we have taken on, whether it was the Revolutionary or Civil War or World War II or going to the moon or winning the cold war, where the voices of conventional wisdom said it can’t be done and American spirit, when we united, said it could be done.
GVS: How about the phone call you have with the house Republicans yesterday? What was that like?
TC: Oh, we have had ongoing conversations with house members for a long time and certainly will continue to do so.
GVS: How many were on the call? The American people don’t know this behind the scenes.
TC: I don’t want to get in to the specifics of internal conversations but there have been and will continue to be ongoing conversions with individual members who share the objective of stopping Obamacare and certainly brainstorming, sharing ideas, sharing my views of what I think will happen in the Senate and trying to think through and strategize and ought to be doing more of that. One of the strange things about Washington, one of the things that I think people would be really surprised about is how little coordination there usually is between the house and Senate and two separate nations and given we have to both work together to pass something in the law, there ought to be more conversations like the ones we have been having.
GVS: In terms of — I heard you speak before and Pat Buchanan spoke on the show the other night and the continuing resolution pinged back to the house now, what if it were split in to different pieces, funding for different aspects like the defense department, pentagon, is that a — is there any impediment to doing that at all.
GVS: And why would that be a strategy that the Republicans would embrace? Why would they not embrace that?
TC: I think that’s a terrific idea.
GVS: That wasn’t my idea. I think that was your idea.
GVS: It’s terrific.
TC: I may be a little bit biased towards it, but listen. Everyone’s wondering now are we going to have a government shutdown and that depends on Harry Reid and President Obama. If they decide they want to force a government shutdown, then we’ll have one. I don’t think we should. We should keep the government runs and irresponsible for Harry Reid and President Obama to force a shutdown but if that happens, and we have had many shutdowns in the past. Not the end of the world. I don’t think we should have one now. But if that happens, a very effective tool the house can use. Part of the games that this administration is likely to play in the shutdown is to try to pick the most sympathetic instances and hold them hostage like the debt ceiling. They want to threaten a default to scare the American people. And it’s — there’s no rule to say a continuing resolution to cover every bit of the federal government and in my view, particularly if Harry Reid forced a shutdown with President Obama, it makes sense to focus first on the military. If understood the military, no matter what happens, we should never threaten to cut off funding for the men and women in the military. Existing federal law gives President Obama all the authority he needs to fund the military even if there is a shutdown. But the democrats are threatening that and so if they pass a simple CR that funds the military, sends it over to the Senate, I think it’s very, very difficult for Harry Reid to refuse to fund the military. Don’t mention Obamacare. Should we fund the military, yes or no? I don’t know that you get democrats to vote no on that on a clean vote and one at a time, one after the other after the other.
GVS: Why wouldn’t Speaker Boehner want to use that strategy? What’s the argument against it in the house?
TC: I don’t know. I don’t know. I haven’t had that conversation with the Speaker so I don’t want to put words in his mouth and I don’t know. He may well follow that strategy. I don’t know if he will or not. I think it makes sense. I’ve suggested it to some folks. They may decide to follow another strategy.
GVS: Senator, nice to see you.
TC: It’s always great to see you Greta.
Victor Medina writes for Yahoo News and his political blog WhenLiberalsAttack.com. His other writing credits include The Dallas Morning News and SportsIllustrated.com. He has served as a Dallas County election judge and on the Board of Directors of The Sixth Floor Museum. You can follow him on his blog, VictorMedina.com or on Twitter at @mrvictormedina. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Click here to receive a weekly email update from WhenLiberalsAttack.com. To be notified of future stories by Victor Medina, click the SUBSCRIBE link here or at the top of this page.