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Cruz: 2017 Could Be ‘Heartbreaking Missed Opportunity’ for Republican Congress

WASHINGTON – Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) told PJM he would “readily vote for a one-sentence repeal of Obamacare” and that there is still “a lot of common ground” among Republicans on “replacement policies” for the Affordable Care Act.

Cruz predicted that congressional Republicans would likely pass “significant tax reform” in the summer or fall.

Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) recently introduced a one-sentence bill to repeal Obamacare after House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) announced that the American Health Care Act was being pulled from consideration. PJM asked Cruz if supporting Brooks’ bill would be a good strategy for Republicans going forward.

“I would readily vote for a one-sentence repeal of Obamacare. Indeed, I have introduced legislation myself similar to that,” Cruz told PJM this week in an interview after his speech at a Federalist Society event on “Economic Liberty in the United States” at the National Press Club. “There seems to be strong Republican interest in replacement policies that expand competition, expand choices and drive down prices, and I think there’s a lot of common ground. We can come together to get that done.”

During the Federalist Society event, Cruz said the current Congress has the potential to be the “most productive” in decades.

“Now we’ve got an opportunity in this town to do an enormous amount of good. Where we are today as a result of the election: the Republicans have been given control of the White House, of every federal agency and of both houses of Congress – that does not happen often…. Now, we could do an enormous amount of good or we could screw it up badly. In my view, there are four big-ticket, priority items this year to which I am devoting virtually all my time and attention,” Cruz told the gathering.

“If we repeal Obamacare, having significant regulatory reform, major tax reform and confirm a strong conservative to the Supreme Court – we do all of that in 2017 – 2017 will be a blockbuster year. This has the potential to be the most productive Congress in decades. On the other hand, if we screw those four up, 2017 could be a heartbreaking missed opportunity. So that’s what the stakes are – and I’m excited. I’m energized to be in the arena working to get it done,” he added.

Despite the “rocky few days” in the GOP-led House, Cruz said the elimination of Obamacare should be the No. 1 priority for the Republicans in Congress.

“We have got to get it done. Failure is not an option. You can't spend six years campaigning and telling the voters, 'If you elect us, we'll do this,' and then don't do it," Cruz said. “And it’s worth remembering, look, the House plan didn’t have the votes – that House plan had been public 18 days – 18 days does not a final product make. The task before Congress is very simple: Sit down and bring people together, focus on common ground and how to get the task done.”