RUSH: Senator Cruz, I’m so glad that you had time for this today.
CRUZ: Well, I always have time to visit.
RUSH: I wanted to get to the thrust of this health care bill. The
Hill is now claiming that its fate could hinge on an amendment
from you. I think you’ve even said this yourself. We have
Republicans in control of virtually everything, theoretically.
We’ve got the House, the Senate, the Executive Branch. We’ve got
the Cabinet departments. For seven years there’s been vote after
vote in the House and Senate repealing Obamacare. They’ve all
passed. They’ve been sent to Obama. Of course, he vetoed every
one. Now that the moment of reckoning has come, it seems hard
to find any energy to really do this. But if it’s not done now, it
won’t be done. Can it be done? Can there actually be a repeal of
this thing and a replacement that vastly improves this, with
market forces dominant?
CRUZ: I believe so, and I hope so. It’s what I’m working night and
day to try to bring about. It is complicated, in that we have a very,
very narrow majority in the Senate. We have just 52 Republicans.
Every Democrat is categorically opposed, so we start out with 48
hard No’s. That means if we lose just three Republicans, we’re
done. So we have to arrive upon legislation that can command the
support of at least 50 of the 52 Republicans.
What I’ve been doing is trying to bring Senate Republicans together behind shared principles. So four or five months ago, I
joined with Lamar Alexander (R, TN) in forming a working
group, initially of six senators: myself, Lamar Alexander, Mike
Lee (R, UT), Rob Portman (R, OH), Tom Cotton (R, AR), and
Cory Gardner (R, CO). I think they represent the full ideological
spectrum of the Republican conference. And they’re geographically diverse. You’ve got some Medicaid expansion states, some
That group began meeting once a week in my conference room,
trying to get to the same page on how to repeal Obamacare and
unify Republicans. For the first month and a half, there was not a
single media leak — which, as you know, in Washington is nothing
short of remarkable. I think that was a result of the senators trying
to work in good faith to come together.
When it became clear that the House was likely to pass a bill,
Lamar Alexander and I both went to Mitch McConnell and said,
“Listen, we need a process in the Senate to bring the conference
together behind Obamacare repeal.” So we took our working group
and expanded it to include committee chairs, leadership, and other
senators. That group began meeting twice a week, trying to get the
We’re not there yet, but I continue to believe we can get it done.
Rush, I think the key to accomplishing this task is two-fold. Number
one, honoring our promise, as you noted that we have made over and
over for seven years, to repeal Obamacare. I think failing in that
promise would be catastrophic. But number two, critically, to lower
premiums. The single biggest reason millions of people are unhappy
with Obamacare is that it’s caused premiums to skyrocket. The
average family’s premiums have increased over $5,000 a year.
RUSH: Most of it is so expensive they can’t use it, when you throw
the deductible in there. They’ve got policies they can’t afford to use.
CRUZ: Exactly right. That’s the comment I hear over and over all
across Texas, “Ted, I can’t afford health insurance for my family.”
That’s a problem the federal government caused with this failed
policy of Obamacare, and it’s a problem we need to fix. So what I
have been working for more than anything is commonsense
reforms that increase competition, that increase choices, that give
consumers more options and that lower premiums.
The most important of those reforms is what’s called the
Consumer Freedom Option. This is an amendment I’ve introduced
Senator Ted Cruz
What a privilege to get this brilliant, rock-ribbed conservative’s
perspective. I am grateful that he is front and center, a key senator
helping to steer things in a conservative direction: