Washington, D.C. - Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) told a room full of economic liberty lovers at the National Press Club on Tuesday what his four top priorities were for the coming year in Congress. At the luncheon, hosted by the Federalist Society, the senator said he wants to repeal Obamacare, which he acknowledged has had "a rocky few days," as well as achieve regulatory reform, tax reform, and confirm Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.
Where did the GOP go wrong on that first item? After all, they had seven years to plan how to dismantle Obamacare.
Cruz had a few guesses. First and foremost, he was baffled as to why areas of "virtual unanimity" were not included in the House bill. For instance, getting rid of mandates, lowering premiums, allowing purchases across state lines - common ground no-brainers - were nowhere to be found, he noted.
Furthermore, the bill was only public for 18 days. That does not signal a "final product," he argued.
They have to reach a consensus because they've promised their constituents they'd fix health care and "failure is not an option."
While the repeal and replace of Obamacare remains in limbo for the time being, Cruz predicted that the road is less bumpy for Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch. Cruz fully expects him to be confirmed when the Senate Judiciary Committee votes next week.
Cruz also said he's "optimistic" that the new White House will help them achieve regulatory reform.
"This is a president who wants to be bold," he said.
Freeing small businesses from government strangleholds is a passionate cause for the senator, who is formerly of the Federal Trade Commission. He and current Acting Chairman of the FTC, Maureen K. Ohlhausen, remarked on the regulations that are killing millions of jobs in the country. Ohlhausen predicted, for instance, that occupational license requirements have cost Americans upwards of 250 million jobs. These license requirements somehow even affect careers like interior and floral design, she noted.
The FTC has gotten the ball rolling to address these business barriers, introducing an economic liberty task force to tamp down on regulatory overreach.