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Mr. CRUZ. Mr. President, I want to thank my friend from Rhode Island for his stirring remarks and, indeed, his powerful arguments against this Nation going down the road of Greece and Spain and much of Europe. Those were indeed compelling statistics of 27-percent unemployment in Greece, and negative nearly 7-percent growth in Greece. I found myself moved looking at those statistics that all of us should act, and act with leadership, to prevent going down that road, to stop the out-of-control spending, the out-of-control debt that put Greece and Spain in those circumstances.
We are right now in a situation where our Nation faces debt larger than our entire economy, greater than 100 percent of our entire economy. That is where the United States is right now. I would suggest the irresponsible
policies of this Congress and this administration are why we are seeing stagnant growth. Last quarter, our economy grew 0.1 percent. I found the speech of my friend from Rhode Island quite powerful for arguing why every Member of this body should vote against the Democratic budget that will be coming up for a vote, because it is clear that raising taxes $1.5 trillion on top of the $1.7 trillion tax increase that has already been put in place will only accelerate our path to where Greece and Spain and much of Europe are.
Adopting a budget that never balances in perpetuity, as sadly the Democratic budget does, will only accelerate our path to where Greece and Europe are. So I thank my friend for that stirring recitation.
I would note also that tomorrow is an important milestone. Tomorrow is the 3-year anniversary of the adoption of ObamaCare. As we vote later today, I will be introducing an amendment to establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund to provide for the repeal of ObamaCare.
ObamaCare was passed with many promises. Yet the reality is it has not delivered. When ObamaCare was being proposed, the President told Americans, the average American family would see our premiums drop by $2,500. Instead, today, the average American family has seen our premiums rise by $3,000. That is a $5,500 difference between what was promised and what has been delivered.
Young people in particular have been hit incredibly hard by ObamaCare. The actuaries predict that young people trying to climb the economic ladder could see their premiums rise anywhere between 145 percent and 189 percent.
Seniors also have been hit severely by ObamaCare. As a result of ObamaCare, some 14 million, nearly 15 million seniors are on Medicare Advantage. Half of them will lose their Medicare Advantage coverage as a result of ObamaCare. Seven million seniors will lose Medicare Advantage. I would note, a very large percentage of those are low-income seniors, are Hispanic seniors, are African-American seniors.
Every one of us should ask, when confronted with Hispanic seniors in our State, why is it that we are content to see 7 million seniors lose their Medicare Advantage program. I would suggest we should not be.
Last Wednesday, all 45 Republicans stood united voting in support of an amendment I offered to delay funding ObamaCare at least until our economy gets growing. Our economy is stagnant right now. It is not growing. Last quarter it was 0.8 percent. Sadly, every Democrat who voted voted to continue implementing ObamaCare even as the economy is gasping for breath and to risk very potentially knocking this Nation into a recession.
I would urge this body to reconsider this decision, when so many people are hurting, not to put the kind of impact that could send this country backwards into a recession. ObamaCare itself includes some 20 tax increases, over $1 trillion. Many in this body talk about the middle class. Many of those tax increases fall directly on the middle class.
Yesterday, over 70 members of this body voted against the medical devices tax. I celebrate that. That is a terrific recognition of the tax burdens of ObamaCare. I hope that amendment is not simply voted on in an aspirational sense, but that it becomes law and we repeal that amendment. But I would suggest the medical devices industry, a critical industry, employs a virtual army of lobbyists. The lesson yesterday illustrated is if you are wealthy, if you are connected, if you are an important industry with lobbyists that can get Senators to come to cocktail parties, you too can see some of the burdens of ObamaCare perhaps lifted from you.
But as we voted for that--I happily voted to lift that tax--it struck me, what about the millions of small businesses that do not have lobbyists in Washington, that do not have the ability to corral Senators and say: It is so important that this burden not fall on me. We respond, quite rightly, to the pleas from one power industry and yet we ignore the pleas from the mom-and-pop shops, from the millions who are struggling.
I will note, if you look at the Hispanic community, there are 2.3 million Hispanic small business owners in this country. Roughly one in eight Hispanic households is a small business owner. But you know what. They do not have lobbyists here who capture the attention of some 70 Senators. Instead, they face the costs and the burdens from ObamaCare.
I want to read to this body a couple of recent press stories illustrating that this is not a Republican talking point or a Democratic talking point. These are the facts. This is what is happening under ObamaCare. The Associated Press on March 13, 2013, so just earlier this month, reported--this is the opening line of the story:
Some Americans could see their insurance bills double next year as the health care overhaul laws expand coverage to millions of people.
It goes on to say:
The biggest price hikes are expected to hit a group that represents a relatively small slice of the insurance population. That includes some roughly 14 million people who buy their own insurance as opposed to being covered under employer-sponsored plans, and to a lesser extent some employees of smaller companies. Yet again, the impact of ObamaCare hitting small businesses, hitting the struggling entrepreneurs.
I would note, two-thirds of all new jobs in our economy come from small businesses. If this body continues to make it harder for small businesses to survive, we will continue to see 23 million Americans out of work, because the new jobs are going to come from small businesses, and we cannot continue to put more and more costs and burdens on them.
The Associated Press continued:
Young people who currently have low-cost coverage may see some of the biggest hikes.
To all of the college kids right now who stood for "hope and change,'' to all of the young people who are coming out of school struggling to find jobs and are not able to find jobs right now, I would point out that what the Associated Press reported is that alone, the ObamaCare impact could cause the premium for a 24-year-old who pays $2,400 annually to jump $1,800. As their resumes go up, as they see additional dollars taken out of their pockets, as they are struggling to climb the economic ladder, I hope the young people realize the cause for those impacts.
Just this week, the Washington Post, hardly a bastion for conservative thought, had a major story headlined ``Health-care law uncertainty grips Old Town Alexandria cafe--and other small businesses.'' It explained there is a cafe in Old Town Alexandria which employs 45 people. The owner says:
There is tremendous confusion and fear among many of my competitors and other business owners in my network, particularly about what you have to cover and how you have to report.
This comment was by Hugh Joyce, owner of James River Air Conditioning in Richmond. Continuing:
In speaking to them, I am convinced that the primary reason we aren't seeing a robust economic recovery is the uncertainty and costs associated with this health-care law.
This is from a small business owner saying why don't we see growth, why don't we see the economy blooming? Because ObamaCare stays in force and it is crippling jobs.
The Washington Post continues:
One in eight small-business owners who responded to a survey by the National Federation of Independent Business said their insurance providers had notified them that their plans would be terminated. A study released last week by Adecco, a human resources consulting firm, showed that nearly a third of employers said they stopped hiring of cut their workforce because of the law.
The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. The Senator has used his 10 minutes.
Mr. CRUZ. I urge ObamaCare be repealed.
I yield the floor.
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Mr. CRUZ. Mr. President, tomorrow is the 3-year anniversary of the passage of ObamaCare. ObamaCare is hurting. It is hurting seniors,
it is hurting Hispanics, it is hurting African Americans, it is hurting single moms, and it is hurting the economy. It should be repealed.
Yesterday over 70 Members of this body voted to remove one of the most pernicious taxes in ObamaCare, the tax on medical device providers. I happily voted for the amendment, but I would point out this is a wealthy industry which can afford to hire lobbyists.
We should be responsive not only to wealthy corporate lobbyists but to the people and small businesses that are being hurt by ObamaCare and to the workers who are being hurt by ObamaCare. We should be responsive to the American people. For that reason, this amendment would create a deficit-neutral reserve fund to defund ObamaCare and repeal ObamaCare.
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The PRESIDING OFFICER. There is 2 minutes equally divided prior to the vote on amendment No. 471 offered by Mr. Cruz.
The Senator from Texas.
Mr. CRUZ. Mr. President, this amendment would create a deficit-neutral reserve fund to reduce foreign assistance to Egypt and to increase funding for an east coast missile defense shield.
Just 2 weeks ago, the Secretary of State announced he had freed an additional $250 million in an unconditional economic support fund for the Government of Egypt. This was in the midst of the sequester and at the same time the American people were told there were insufficient funds to pay for police officers, firefighters and teachers, and even White House tours.
All of us are concerned about the situation in Egypt--a nation that, among other things, has repeatedly turned a blind eye to the abuse of women and to the persecution of Christians.
Last week the European Union threatened to hold its 5 million euro pledge of economic aid to Egypt absent meaningful reforms. We should do at least as well as the EU. This amendment would reduce, in an unspecified amount, the foreign aid to Egypt and allow that money to be put to vital national security ends here at home; namely, missile defense.
I ask the amendment be adopted.
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The PRESIDING OFFICER. There is 2 minutes equally divided prior to the vote on amendment No. 702 offered by Mr. Cruz.
The Senator from Texas.
Mr. CRUZ. Mr. President, this amendment would create a budget point of order prohibiting any measure that provides taxpayer funds to the United Nations while any member nation forces citizens to undergo involuntary abortions.
I recognize Members of this body have differing views on the right to life, but surely all of us can be agreed that for a woman to be forced against her will to abort her child is a horrific evil. Yet the world was shocked when photographs surfaced last year of 23-year-old Feng Jianmei and her aborted child.
China recently acknowledged under its one-child policy it has carried out 336 million abortions, more than the entire population of the United States. Those are 336 million lives that never breathed a breath of life on this Earth.
In 1997, the House passed a Forced Abortion Condemnation Act that, unfortunately, died in the Senate. This body should condemn that policy.
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