Texas’ two Republican Senators disagree on what Republicans should prioritize if the party regains control of Congress.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), who is considering a 2016 presidential run and is seen as the conservative voice in Congress, wants Republicans to try to repeal Obamacare and stop President Barack Obama’s executive grants of amnesty. Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), who may become Majority Whip if the GOP wins a net of six Senate seats this year, believes Republicans will only win the White House in 2016 if conservative stalwarts like Cruz water down their bold conservatism and compromise. Cornyn recently said “that his party will have to prove it can compromise and govern, or forfeit its chances of winning the White House in 2016.”
“If we don’t meet the challenge, that’s the kiss of death for a Republican president in 2016,” Cornyn told the Austin American-Statesman editorial board about needing to work together with Democrats. Cornyn made his comments after he was asked, “Is Sen. Cruz going to get the message about temporizing expectations?”
“Some people have told me that the 2016 election is right around the corner and you are going to have a tough time dealing with people who are aspiring to run for president to cooperate with the majority,” Cornyn replied. “The truth is if they don’t, then we’re not going to be able to do anything and we’ll be mired down in the same dysfunction we’re currently in.”
In a USA Today op-ed, Cruz said that Republicans should fight for “a big pro-jobs, growth agenda” by “embracing America’s energy renaissance” and reducing job-killing regulations. Cruz wrote that “for six years, the Obama economy has been trapped in stagnation, hurting millions.”
Touting his signature issue, Cruz also said a GOP-led Congress should “pursue all means possible to repeal Obamacare,” which he notes has “caused millions to lose their jobs, be forced into part-time work, lose their health insurance, lose their doctors, and pay skyrocketing premiums.” He also wants Republicans to “secure the border and stop illegal amnesty.”
“Today, we’re facing a humanitarian crisis of 90,000 unaccompanied children at the border, along with growing national security threats,” he wrote. “We should welcome and celebrate legal immigrants who follow the rules, and at the same time honor the will of the people and prevent any more illegal amnesty.”
Cornyn reportedly “said it would be folly for Republicans to come to Washington in 2015 determined to repeal Obamacare rather than making more piecemeal reforms to try to drive down the cost of health care” and suggested a piecemeal approach to immigration reform.
Cornyn mentioned that Republicans should not push for an Obamacare repeal because Obama will never sign legislation overturning his signature act. But Obama also said he would never sign a bill that does not give a pathway to citizenship to illegal immigrants. That has not stopped establishment Republicans like Cornyn from pushing “piecemeal” immigration legislation even though those on the left like Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) have said that they would only accept “piecemeal” legislation if they get all of the pieces of the “Gang of Eight” comprehensive amnesty legislation that would give illegal immigrants a pathway to citizenship and nearly double the number of guest-worker visas. The Congressional Budget Office determined that legislation would actually lower the wages of American workers who are still struggling to recover from the recession.
Other establishment Republicans like Jeb Bush and House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) have also signaled that Republicans should work to pass amnesty legislation if they control Congress even though the GOP may win back Congress because the voters do not trust Democrats on the illegal immigration. A plurality of voters in at least three national polls have said that they are “less likely” to vote for candidates who support a pathway to citizenship.
Cruz also presented a broader–and more conservative–governing agenda than those put out by establishment Republicans. He wrote that a GOP-controlled Congress should “hold government accountable and rein in judicial activism” while pushing for “real oversight of the administration’s lawlessness and abuse of power,” especially the “IRS’s illegal targeting of citizen groups, the wanton violation of religious liberty and privacy rights, the lawless implementation of Obamacare, the EPA’s assault on manufacturing jobs and war on coal, and the debacle of Benghazi.”
Cruz also called on the GOP to fight crony capitalism by preventing members of Congress from becoming lobbyists and instituting term limits; enact tax reform, which includes abolishing the IRS; audit the Federal Reserve to ensure a “sound and stable dollar;” pass a balanced budget amendment; repeal Common Core; and deal with ISIL and a nuclear Iran, which includes “passing legislation that strips American citizens who join ISIL of their U.S. passports so they cannot return home and wage jihad against innocent men and women” and rebuilding “our military” to “protect our nation and restore America’s leadership in the world.”