By Ted Cruz
By all signs, Americans are preparing to send Washington a clear message in the 2014 elections.
The question is, will Washington listen?
Republicans -- poised to take control of Congress -- should set our sights on three big goals to make Americans feel confident in their futures once again: jumpstart the economy, safeguard constitutional liberties, and strengthen our national security.
Here are ten critical priorities for the 2015 Congress:
First, embrace a big pro-jobs, growth agenda. For six years, the Obama economy has been trapped in stagnation, hurting millions. A Republican Congress should immediately help Americans get more jobs by embracing America's energy renaissance. This means passing legislation to make it easier to build energy infrastructure, such as the Keystone pipeline. But, we need an energy policy that's bigger than Keystone. An effective energy plan would also protect innovative energy technology, such as hydraulic fracturing, from being handcuffed by the federal government. We can also open up land for exploration and ensure that American companies can export liquefied natural gas around the world. And, lastly, stop the EPA from implementing rules that will destroy coal jobs and drive up our electricity bills.
Second, pursue all means possible to repeal Obamacare. There is a reason Obamacare has miserable 37% approval ratings: it has caused millions to lose their jobs, be forced into part-time work, lose their health insurance, lose their doctors, and pay skyrocketing premiums. It simply isn't working. We should pass repeal legislation (forcing an Obama veto), and then pass bill after bill to mitigate the harms of Obamacare. Prevent people from having their healthcare plans cancelled, prohibit insurance company bailouts, eliminate the provisions forcing people into part-time work, and repeal the individual mandate.
Perhaps, President Obama vetoes every one. But each has powerful appeal with the electorate who are hurting under this law, and Democratic senators may not be quite so eager to join their 2014 colleagues in losing their jobs over Obama's refusal to listen to the people.
In 2017, I believe a Republican president will repeal Obamacare in its entirety. In the interim, we should pass positive healthcare reform to start over, allowing the purchase of insurance across state lines, expanding health savings accounts, and making health insurance, personal, portable, and affordable.
Third, 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. 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.
Fourth, hold government accountable and rein in judicial activism.We need real oversight of the administration's lawlessness and abuse of power. 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 -- all should be the subject of careful, sober Senate hearings.
And the Senate should stop confirming activist judges who will impose their own policy preferences, such as striking down state marriage laws. We must uphold the Constitution.
Fifth, stop the culture of corruption.Crony capitalists are standing in the way of commonsense reforms, whether it's abolishing the Export-Import Bank or keeping the Internet tax-free forever and unconstrained by job-killing regulations. We can stop the Washington corruption, in part, by reining in corporate welfare, imposing a lifetime ban on members of Congress becoming lobbyists, and fighting to pass a constitutional amendment to require term limits for Congress.
Sixth, pass fundamental tax reform, making taxes flatter, simpler, and fairer. Moving towards a simple flat tax would treat all Americans more fairly and end the massive time and costs wasted in dealing with the IRS; we should let taxes become so simple that they could be filled out on a postcard. Ultimately, with a Republican president, we should abolish the IRS and end its abuse of power and violation of Americans' constitutional rights.
Seventh, audit the Federal Reserve. Americans are seeing near-zero interest rates on their savings accounts while median incomes are falling, and millions of people are facing higher gas prices, food prices, electricity prices, health insurance prices. Enough is enough, the Federal Reserve needs to open its books -- Americans deserve a sound and stable dollar.
Eighth, pass a strong balanced budget amendment. We should pass a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution to stop out-of-control spending by Congress and the president. More than $17 trillion in national debt shows how badly we need structural reforms to stop bankrupting our kids and grandkids.
Ninth, repeal Common Core, so that local curriculum is not mandated by Washington bureaucrats. We should also do all we can to expand educational choices for parents and children and allow every child access to a quality education, regardless of race, class, or zip code.
Tenth, deal seriously with the twin threats of ISIL and a nuclear Iran, including 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. We must rebuild our military, protect our nation, and restore America's leadership in the world.
We should lead boldly. No Washington games. We will either pass a serious agenda to address the real priorities of the American people -- protecting our constitutional rights and pulling us back from the fiscal and economic cliff -- or the Democrats will filibuster or veto these bills. And, if they do so, we will have transparency and accountability for the very next election.