Ted Cruz on Government Reform
Republican Texas Senator
Ted Cruz (R): No. Opposes DISCLOSE Act, as it raises "grave constitutional concern for speech protected by the First Amendment." Supports Citizens United as aid to 1st Amendment free speech protections.
Beto O'Rourke (D): Yes. Co-sponsored DISCLOSE Act to "shine light on the unlimited, secret spending flooding American elections," including foreign influence. Supreme Court should end Citizens United.
Ted Cruz (R): No. Political gerrymandering is legitimate, though not racial gerrymandering.
Beto O'Rourke (D): Yes. "Empower communities by making sure voters can pick their representatives, not the other way."
SANDERS: In the midst of massive unprecedented income and wealth inequality, Ted's plan, according to "Wall Street Journal" would give incredible tax breaks to top 1%.
Ted Cruz has spent a lifetime fighting to defend the Constitution: 70 Supreme Court briefs authored; 9 arguments in the Supreme Court.
CRUZ: There are 3 avenues of presidential authority. The 1st is executive power, the 2nd is foreign policy, and the 3rd is legislation. Executive power has been the preferred vehicle of Pres. Obama, abusing his constitutional authority. Now, the silver lining of that is everything done with executive power can be undone with executive power, so I have pledged on day one I will rescind every single illegal and unconstitutional executive action Barack Obama has done. That means on day one his efforts to restrict the Second Amendment go away. That means on day one his illegal executive amnesty goes away. I can end Common Core at the federal level because Obama is abusing executive power using Race to the Top funds in the Department of Education to force it on the states.
CRUZ: I believe the American people are looking for someone to speak the truth. If you're looking for someone to go to Washington, to go along to get along, to get--to agree with the career politicians in both parties who get in bed with the lobbyists and special interests, then I ain't your guy. There is a reason that we have $18 trillion in debt. Because as conservatives, as Republicans, we keep winning elections, but we don't have leaders who honor their commitments. I will always tell the truth and do what I said I would do.
In Texas state government races, there are no limits on individual donations under state campaign finance laws. This had made it a lot easier for an unknown like me in the attorney general's race to raise money from a committed group of donors, compete, and potentially win against entrenched incumbents.
By contrast, federal campaign finance laws make such an effort impossible in a race for US Senate. They impose strict limits on the amount any individual can contribute, in effect rewarding candidates with deep pockets who can self-finance (since there are no limits on what you can donate to yourself) or those who are already well-known across the state. Written by political incumbents, these rules function as incumbent protection laws, designed to combat what they see as a great evil--that some outsider could raise enough money to defeat them.
As a result (and by design), it is practically impossible for someone who is not an incumbent politician--without an existing, massive fund-raising apparatus--to raise enough money in small increments to run statewide in a large state like Texas.
The Obama administration was asked at an oral argument if it could prohibit a company from using its general treasury funds to publish a book that discusses the American political system for five hundred pages and then, at the end, says "Vote for X." President Obama's lawyer said, flat out, "Yes."
These radical claims for the authority to ban books and movies led me to dub the amendment's proponents the "Fahrenheit 451 Democrats," after Ray Bradbury's dystopian classic about book-burning government power run amok.
With an opinion written by Chief Justice Roberts, the Supreme Court agreed with Texas that the World Court had no authority whatsoever to bind the U.S. justice system. At the same time, it struck down the president's order, concluding it was unconstitutional for the president to unilaterally surrender the sovereignty of the United States of America.
(VIDEO CLIP) OBAMA: The actions I'm taking are not only lawful, they're the kinds of actions taking by every single Republican president and every single Democratic president for the past half century.
Q: Senator, Presidents Reagan and Bush 41 took executive action to grant legal status to about a million and a half people who are in this country illegally. What's the difference?
CRUZ: The difference between Reagan and Bush is both of them were working with Congress and implementing congressional statutes. Congress can change the immigration law and the president can put congressional will into effect. The difference here is this is not a president who wants to work with Congress. Rather, this is a president who is openly defying Congress. [This] stops having a constitutional system of checks & balances, and we move just to unilateral executive authority. It's the power of a monarch
We need to pass a strong constitutional amendment that puts into law term limits.
There are lots of voices in Washington that say 'no, no, no, this is too bold.' 'You can't stand against the IRS, that's too extreme.' 'You can't say repeal ObamaCare, that's really a bit much. Let's just modify it.' 'You' can't not bankrupt the country, let's just slow it down a little bit.' A friend of mine suggested a bumper sticker slogan, "Republicans, we waste less." You win elections by standing for principle, inspiring people that there is a better tomorrow.
The drafters of the Constitutions intended to protect the rights of their constituents, Cruz argued, and the last two items in the Bill of Rights offered an explicit bulwark against an all-powerful state. "They simply do so from different directions," Cruz wrote. "The 10th stops new powers, and the 9th fortifies all other rights, or non-powers."
Yet rather than honor this duty, Pres. Obama has openly defied it by repeatedly suspending, delaying and waiving portions of the laws he is charged to enforce. When Obama disagreed with federal immigration laws, he instructed the Justice Department to cease enforcing the laws. He did the same thing with federal welfare law, drug laws and the federal Defense of Marriage Act.
On many of those policy issues, reasonable minds can disagree. Obama may be right that some of those laws should be changed. But the typical way to voice that policy disagreement, for the preceding 43 presidents, has been to work with Congress to change the law. If the president cannot persuade Congress, then the next step is to take the case to the American people
But this should not be a partisan issue. In time, the country will have another president from another party. For all those who are silent now: What would they think of a Republican president who announced that he was going to ignore the law, or unilaterally change the law? Imagine a future president setting aside environmental laws, or tax laws, or labor laws, or tort laws with which he or she disagreed.
That would be wrong--and it is the Obama precedent that is opening the door for future lawlessness. Because when a president can pick and choose which laws to follow and which to ignore, he is no longer a president.
CRUZ: Of course we should do something. We shouldn't just write a blank check. Five years ago, the national debt was $10 trillion. Today, it's over $17 trillion. It's grown nearly 70% with one president in five years. Ask any American outside of Washington, "Should we just keep raising the debt ceiling while doing nothing to have fundamental structural control of spending?" In the past, the debt ceiling has been the most effective lever point for real structural reforms whether it was Graham-Rudman, which did great job of getting government spending under control, or whether it was the Budget Control Act. Both of those came through the debt ceiling. And what the president is saying is he just wants a blank credit card to keep growing and growing the dealt. And I think that's irresponsible. I think it's irresponsible to our kids and grandkids to stick that debt on them, because we can't live within our means.
"That's the craziest thing I've ever heard in my life," Sadler responded. "You are really accusing the president of the United States of using a government program to manipulate people to not get a job, to be dependent on government for services. That's just crazy, Ted. It's crazy."
Cruz replied, "I'm impressed that we're a few minutes into it and you've already called me three times crazy on observing that the president has expanded government dependency."
Several times during the debate, a visibly angry Sadler accused Cruz of lying. At times he laughed derisively while Cruz responded to a question.
The Contract from America, clause 1. Protect the Constitution:
Require each bill to identify the specific provision of the Constitution that gives Congress the power to do what the bill does.
The Contract from America, clause 5. Restore Fiscal Responsibility & Constitutionally Limited Government in Washington:
Create a Blue Ribbon taskforce that engages in a complete audit of federal agencies and programs, assessing their Constitutionality,
The Contract from America, clause 9. Stop the Pork:
Place a moratorium on all earmarks until the budget is balanced, and then require a 2/3 majority to pass any earmark.
Congressional summary:: Stop Targeting of Political Beliefs by the IRS Act: Requires the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) standards and definitions in effect on January 1, 2010, for determining whether an organization qualifies for tax-exempt status as an organization operated exclusively for social welfare to apply to such determinations after enactment of this Act. Prohibits any regulation, or other ruling, not limited to a particular taxpayer relating to such standards and definitions.
Proponent's argument in favor (Heritage Action, Feb. 26, 2014): H.R. 3865 comes in the wake of an attack on the Tea Party and other conservative organizations. The current IRS regulation is so broad and ill-defined that the IRS applies a "facts and circumstances" test to determine what constitutes "political activity" by an organization. This test can vary greatly depending on the subjective views of the particular IRS bureaucrat applying the test. IRS employees took advantage of this vague and subjective standard to unfairly delay granting tax-exempt status to Tea Party organizations and subject them to unreasonable scrutiny.
Text of sample IRS letter to Tea Party organizations:We need more information before we can complete our consideration of your application for exemption. Please provide the information requested on the enclosed Information Request by the response due date. Your response must be signed by an authorized person or officer whose name is listed on your application.
Excerpts from press release on Term Limits Caucus: Two U.S. Term Limits pledge signers, Republican Rep. Rod Blum (IA-1) and Democrat Rep. Beto O`Rourke (TX-16), have announced the formation of a Term Limits Caucus, which will work to build bipartisan support behind a constitutional amendment imposing term limits on Congress. "The root of this problem is that politicians are incentivized by the system to care more about retaining their position than doing what is best for the country," Blum said. "Our founding fathers never intended for public service to be a career, rather, serving in Congress was designed to be a temporary sacrifice made for the public good."
The new working group will marshal pro-term limits members together to pursue common ground. One of its most important duties will be building consensus around the U.S. Term Limits Amendment of three House terms and two Senate terms, to which both Blum and O`Rourke have pledged their exclusive support.
Supporting argument: (Cato Institute): We should limit members to three terms in the House and two terms in the Senate. Let more people serve. Let more people make the laws. And let's get some people who don't want to make Congress a lifelong career. Some say that term limits would deprive us of the skills of experienced lawmakers. Really? It's the experienced legislators who gave us a $17 trillion national debt, and the endless war in Iraq, and the Wall Street bailout.
Supporting argument: (Heritage Foundation): The only serious opponents of term limits are incumbent politicians and the special interests--particularly labor unions--that support them. Special interests oppose term limits because they do not want to lose their valuable investments in incumbent legislators. Many are organized to extract programs, subsidies, and regulations from the federal government--to use the law as a lever to benefit their own constituencies or harm their rivals.
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George P. Bush
Senate races 2017-8:
AZ: Flake(R) vs. Ward(R) vs.Sinema(D) vs.Abboud(D) vs.McSally(R) vs.Arpaio(R) vs.Marks(L)
CA: Feinstein(D) vs. Eisen(I) vs. Sanchez?(D) vs.de_Leon(D)
CT: Murphy(D) vs.Adams(D) vs.Corey(R)
DE: Carper(D) vs.Arlett(R) vs.Truono(R) vs.
FL: Nelson(D) vs.
HI: Hirono(D) vs.Curtis(R) vs.
IN: Donnelly(D) vs.
MA: Warren(D) vs. Ayyadurai(I) vs.
MD: Cardin(D) vs.Campbell(R) vs.Vohra(L) vs.
ME: King(I) vs.Brakey(R) vs.Ringelstein(D) vs.Lyons(L)
MI: Stabenow(D) vs.
MN-6: Klobuchar(D) vs.Newberger(R) vs.Overby(G)
MO: McCaskill(D) vs.Petersen(R) vs.Petersen(R) vs.Monetti(R) vs.Hawley(R)
MS-2: vs.Hyde-Smith(R) vs. McDaniel(R) vs.Espy(D) vs.
MS-6: Wicker(R) vs.Baria(D) vs.
MT: Tester(D) vs.Olszewski(R) vs.Rosendale(R)
ND: Heitkamp(D) vs.Peyer(D) vs.Cramer(R) vs.
NE: Fischer(R) vs.Raybould(D)
NJ: Menendez(D) vs.
NM: Heinrich(D) vs.Rich(R) vs.Johnson(L)
NV: Heller(R) vs.
NY: Gillibrand(D) vs.
OH: Brown(D) vs.
PA: Casey(D) vs.
RI: Whitehouse(D) vs.
TN: Corker(R) vs.Bredesen(D) vs.
TX: Cruz(R) vs.
UT: Hatch(R) vs.
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VT: Sanders(I) vs.Milne(D) vs.MacGovern(D) vs.Paige(R) vs.Zupan(R)
WA: Cantwell(D) vs.Hutchison(R) vs.Ferguson(D) vs.Luke(L) vs.Strider(L)
WI: Baldwin(D) vs.Vukmir(R)
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