U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz said he’s just as frustrated as his constituents are that the Senate again failed to repeal or reform the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, but he believes it will happen.
“Texans are frustrated by Congress’ inability to deliver on our promises,” said Cruz, who was in town Friday night for a Grassroots America-We The People dinner. “I believe we have to get it done. Failure is not an option. This week was disappointing, but I believe there is a path to yes.”
Cruz said he opposes what he terms “bailing out insurance companies” or any temporary fixes.
Cruz also said that if Congress fails to repeal the ACA, “2018 could be a disastrous election. A lot of Republicans could stay home.”
Tax reform is also on the GOP’s agenda, Cruz said, and he’s encouraged by the outline of reforms offered up by President Donald Trump earlier Friday.
“I’m looking for a bigger tax cut and more simplification,” he said. “But what the president presented was a good start. And I’m committed to working every day to make it better.”
Cruz discussed his Democratic opponent in the 2018 Senate race, Congressman Beto O’Rourke, who has visited Tyler and talked about redistricting and gerrymandering.
“The last I checked, a Senate seat is elected statewide,” he said. “And the lines of the state of Texas haven’t changed lately, nor are they going to any time soon.”
Cruz praised the nomination of two Texans, Texas Supreme Court Justice Don Willett and former Texas Solicitor General James Ho, to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.
“These are terrific nominees,” Cruz said. “They’re both smart, and they’ve both spent a lifetime demonstrating a fidelity to the law.”
Grassroots America’s annual Champions of Freedom Awards Dinner featured nine of the 12 members of the Texas House’s Freedom Caucus, a group that clashed with House Speaker Joe Straus during both the regular and special sessions this year over a slate of conservative bills.
After the caucus members in attendance received their awards, Grassroots Executive Director JoAnn Fleming put the politicos through a “lightning round” of questions.
“A tipping point was reached in Austin, Texas this year,” said Ms. Fleming. “These are the catalysts who made it happen, and they need our support.”
State Rep. Matt Schaefer, R-Tyler, chairs that caucus.
“I was going into my third session, and I had seen liberty-minded conservatives just get beat. We needed to get organized. When we dropped our press release on Feb. 14, we were laughed at. That was at the beginning of the session. By the end of the session, we were being summoned into the governor’s office to negotiate on important bills.”
Also speaking at the dinner was Jeremy Dys, who serves as deputy general counsel for First Liberty, a religious freedoms advocacy nonprofit.