UPDATED 7/22/15 11:00AM ET
What Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) understands about the political system is that policy initiatives are worthless if you are unwilling to harness critical moments and pivotal legislation to relentlessly push that agenda. It’s nice to oppose Obama’s amnesty, funding for abortion, Obamacare, or the Iran deal, but it’s nothing but vapid campaign rhetoric without pursuing a consequential battle over a so-called must-pass bill.
Today, Ted Cruz has introduced 8 amendments to the 1,030-page $300 billion highway bill that will address a number of the critical issues facing this country during these dark times.
Here is the list of the Cruz amendments with some of my notes:
Prohibits disbursement of highway funds until the Administration has certified that it will no longer implement amnesty. This is an even more important issue than sanctuary cities because Obama has turned the entire country into a sanctuary by prohibiting ICE from cooperating even with localities that actually want to cooperate with federal law. Also, the use of highway funds as leverage is a much more effective tool than blocking law enforcement grants.
Eliminates the congressional exemption for Obamacare that was enacted in contravention to the actual law. This is such a winning issue, yet Republican leadership has refused to pursue it.
Prohibits taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood. Every Republican will shed crocodile tears over the Planned Parenthood videos but few of them are willing to actually use budget bills or re-authorization bills to turn their political bluster into reality.
Prohibits funding for abortions across the government.
This bill would permanently extend the law prohibiting taxes on Internet access. Proponents of the Internet Sales Tax have repeatedly held this noncontroversial bill hostage as leverage for imposing the Internet Sales Tax. The Internet Sales Tax is one of the most pernicious tax increases yet it has a lot of support from Republicans and is gaining more traction. Any candidate that discusses “tax reform” but declines to categorically commit to vetoing the Internet sales tax is useless.
Allows for reciprocity of concealed carry laws. With all of the existential threats from radical Islam, criminal aliens, and the breakdown in law and order, this country needs as many armed law abiding citizens as ever.
Prohibits the president from lifting sanctions until Iran recognizes Israel’s right to exist and releases the American hostages. Republicans will wring their hands over the Iran deal, but most of them have done nothing for the past 19 months to block the alliance with Iran when we still had the chance. In fact, they helped cement the deal with the Corker-Cardin bill. Anyone who does not support using the budget process and must-pass bills to block implementation of this treaty is putting on a kabuki theater for their constituents.
There are obviously numerous important and imminent issues that must be addressed that are not on this list. We all understand that not every issue can be addressed, fought for, and won in a single political battle. But where is the Republican Party? Why are they not pushing at least a few of the most pressing issues, such as immigration, Iran sanctions, and funding for Planned Parenthood? Conservatives will never win on every issue, but they will lose on every issue if they don’t use meaningful vehicles to fight even a single issue of consequence.
Even in the best-case scenario, Democrats will have a filibuster-strong minority in the Senate in 2017. There is no way any of these aspiring presidents will implement even 2% of their agenda without harnessing moments of “crisis,” authorization bills, budget bills, and debt ceiling bills to demand moral clarity and the fixing of our priorities on the key issues of our time.
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.