The Blog

Cruz: 'Nobody Has Argued that a Shutdown Would Defund Obamacare'

1:21 PM, Aug 2, 2013 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
Widget tooltip
Single Page Print Larger Text Smaller Text Alerts

Ted Cruz's office is circulating the following remarks made by the Texas senator under the subject line "Cruz explains Defund Obamacare initiative" (emphasis added):

In the past couple of days, some folks have focused on a CRS report that says a shutdown would not defund Obamacare, and I just want to make a point publically for the record -- but I think it’s an important point -- I think that argument is a total red herring. Nobody has argued that a shutdown would defund Obamacare.

The way you defund Obamacare is you pass a Continuing Resolution into law with an explicit prohibition on discretionary and mandatory spending. So I fully agree, if President Obama forces a partial temporary shutdown that, during the few days or weeks that that occurs, Obamacare won’t be defunded. All that’s saying is that we will not have accomplished our goal, before we accomplish our goal.

In other words the only way to defund Obamacare is to pass legislation into law that affirmatively defunds both discretionary and mandatory spending for Obamacare. And the only prayer we have to do that, is to attach it to the CR and insist upon it as the necessary prerequisite to going forward. And I’ll say connected to that, that a lot of folks have pointed to other strategies of let’s delay the individual mandate, let’s strip the IRS of from having enforcement powers; look all of those are good, I think everyone in this room would vote for all of those.

The problem with all of those strategies is that none of them are going to get done. Y'all can pass them all in the House but if they’re just passed as standalone legislation Harry Reid won’t take up a single one of them. So they’ll be nice symbolic statements and that’s fine, but they won’t become law, and the question that I am asking of my colleagues on a regular basis, the Obamacare subsidies start January 1, the administration's plan is to get the American people hooked on the sugar and hooked on the subsidies. And in modern times there has never been any major entitlement that has gone into effect and has been unwound.

I’m convinced that if we don’t stand and fight now, we never will, if we don’t stand and defund Obamacare today, we are saying that we surrender, and Obamacare will be a permanent feature of our economy going forward. And so the question I ask to those friends of ours in the Senate and the House who are concerned about fighting on the Continuing Resolution, the simple question is, what is the alternative? What is the alternative to actually defeat Obamacare, not to speak about it, not to give a press release, but to stop it? Because if its right that once the subsidies kick in, this ain’t ever going away, I have yet to see any other alternative that has any prospect whatsoever of prevailing.

So Cruz agrees with Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma that a government shutdown itself would not stop Obamacare.

But he apparently thinks the fear of a potential shutdown or pain of an actual shutdown would convince enough Democrats and President Obama to agree to defund Obamacare. In other words, Cruz is arguing that Senate Democrats and President Obama can be convinced to care more about keeping discretionary spending flowing than about implementing Obama's signature legislative achievement.

And how might they become convinced? If and only if "in the next 60 days, we see hundreds of thousands or even better millions of Americans rising up," Cruz said. He then encouraged Americans to rise up by signing a petition at dontfundit.com, a website run by a PAC that supported Cruz's election.

Correction: The Senate Conservatives Fund, which operates dontfundit.com, is a traditional PAC, not a Super PAC as originally reported. 

Recent Blog Posts