Healthcare

Cruz rejects abolishing the filibuster to repeal ObamaCare

Ted Cruz, gay hoteliers, Ian Reisner, Mati Weiderpass
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Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) says he opposes eliminating the filibuster in order to repeal ObamaCare, splitting with other presidential hopefuls. 

Cruz was asked by conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt about the idea, which would prevent Senate Democrats from blocking repeal by allowing it to pass the chamber with 51 votes instead of 60.  

{mosads}But Cruz argued that maintaining the 60-vote threshold is beneficial because it stands in the way of “radical” legislative proposals.

“I think the legislative filibuster, the supermajority requirement in the Senate, more often than not slows bad liberal, radical ideas that I think as the framers described it, the Senate serves as a saucer to cool the heat of the House,” Cruz told Hewitt Monday night. 

Cruz’s support for the filibuster contrasts with Republican primary rivals former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.

Walker told Hewitt on Saturday night that he “absolutely” would eliminate the filibuster to repeal ObamaCare, according to the Washington Examiner

Bush didn’t go as far, but under questioning from Hewitt said he “might consider” the option. 

Eliminating the filibuster would be major break with Senate tradition. Democrats stirred controversy when they ended the filibuster on most presidential nominees in 2013, triggering the so-called “nuclear option” over the vocal objections of Republicans.

Cruz held firm against abolishing the filibuster when pressed by Hewitt. The Texas senator said he would make the 2016 election a “referendum” on the healthcare law and pointed to the fast-track process of reconciliation as an alternative way to repeal it.

Republicans are eyeing that process, but there are limitations in that Senate rules restrict the parts of the law that can be repealed to the realm of spending and revenues. Reconciliation must also reduce the deficit, while the Congressional Budget Office says repealing ObamaCare actually increases the deficit. 

Cruz indicated he could keep up pressure to use the process. “Now we don’t need to override the filibuster to defeat ObamaCare,” he said. “Reid didn’t do that to pass ObamaCare. He used reconciliation. What you can pass with reconciliation, you can repeal with reconciliation.”

The part of ObamaCare that was passed through reconciliation made changes to the core of the bill that had already passed the Senate. 

Cruz stuck to his argument that the filibuster does more good than harm.

“If we had followed your advice, we would have cap and trade, we would have some of the most egregious left-wing legislation,” he said. “Under Majority Leader Elizabeth Warren, Hugh Hewitt would be looking back going, ‘Why on Earth did I remove our ability to stop radical socialist policies that are destroying this country?’ ”

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