Ted Cruz Doubles Down On His Failed Obamacare Strategy
Despite the fact that the plan he, along with other legislators such as Senator Mike Lee and people like The Heritage Foundation’s Jim DeMint, had developed to attempt to force the Democrat’s hand on the Affordable Care Act has failed miserably, Senator Ted Cruz is not giving up. Today on CNN’s State of the Union, he called on his fellow Republicans to tie the law into any proposal to increase the nation’s borrowing limit:
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) on Sunday said changes to President Obama’s signature healthcare law should be tied to a debt ceiling increase.
The Texas Republican said any deal on raising the nation’s borrowing authority should include some “significant structural” plans to reduce government spending, avoid new taxes and “look for ways to mitigate the harm from ObamaCare.”
“The debt ceiling historically has been among the best leverage that Congress has to rein in the executive,” he said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
Of the 55 times Congress has raised the debt limit, Cruz argued that 28 of those times Congress has attached “very stringent requirements,” many designed to reduce spending, including the 2011 sequestration plan.
So, a debt-ceiling increase should “respond to real harms coming from ObamaCare,” Cruz said.
Cruz said Republicans have leverage because of “so many nasty partisan jabs from Democrats” proving that “we’re winning the argument —Obamacare isn’t working.”
I suppose one must give Cruz some kind of credit for consistency here. He faced a storm of criticism prior to September 30th from many House Republicans and from stalwarts of fiscal conservatism in the Senate such as Tom Coburn that his proposal that Congress should not pass a bill to fund the government unless it included language defunding (or, eventually delaying implementation of) the Affordable Care Act. Notwithstanding his 21 hour long filibuster, that plan failed just as everyone who was criticizing it correctly predicted it would. At the same time, though, he was able to rile enough anger with the party base and the Tea Party crowd in the House that he ended up locking the House GOP Leadership in a hopeless cycle where they kept sending bills to the Senate that had absolutely no chance of surviving. As a result, the Government shut down and its remained shut down since 12:01am on the morning of October 1st. Meanwhile, polling continues to indicate that the Republican Party is getting the majority of the blame for this ongoing crisis and there doesn’t appear to be any resolution insight before we start bumping up against the October 16th projected date on which the nation will officially run out of authority either borrow money or engage in the kind of accounting moves that could delay and negative consequences of not having that authority. By all measures except those that concentrate on the personal political fortunes of Ted Cruz inside a particular segment o the Republican Party, the plan has clearly been a spectacular failure. Nonetheless, Cruz retains his purity and now suggests that his party try what seems to be the same basic strategy with regard to the debt ceiling.
In the interview, Cruz doesn’t specify what kind of measures he thinks the party should propose when it comes to Obamacare, but one has to assume that it goes far beyond the repeal of the medical device tax currently rumored to be part of a plan that the House GOP Leadership is working on rolling out to the public. For example, National Review Capitol Hill Reporter Robert Costa has reported in recent days that one Republican in the House has told him that any bill that doesn’t include at least a one year delay in the PPACA’s individual mandate would start out with 30-50 Republican “No” votes, which would put it below the 217 needed to pass the House on what one presumes would be a mostly party line vote. Other possible provisions that Cruz likely has in mind would be elimination of the largely non-existent “Congressional exemption” to the PPACA. Quite obviously, neither of these provisions would have any chance of making it to the President’s desk, and the President would likely veto the bill if they did. In the meantime, playing another round of pointless hardball like this would likely rebound negatively on the GOP and make it far less likely that Senate Democrats, or the President, will be willing to deal in any respect. Instead, they’d just sit back and let the GOP hang itself with rope provided by the Freshman Senator from Texas.