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Cruz: President Obama Dodged Our Questions

He refused to provide answers about IRS scandal, Benghazi attacks, protecting our privacy, Obamacare, and the economy

WASHINGTON, DC -- U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, today highlighted the questions that President Obama failed to answer last night in his State of the Union address.

"Last night President Obama had the opportunity to answer critical questions that millions of Americans are asking all around the country, but he didn’t, which is precisely why so many Americans have lost trust in this President," Sen. Cruz said. "If President Obama truly wanted to restore credibility to his government, he would have announced meaningful action on a series of urgent matters that are of great importance to our safety and freedoms. He would have addressed the IRS’s illegal targeting of conservatives, announced action to bring terrorists to justice for the attacks on our embassy in Benghazi, taken steps to protect Americans from unjustifiable privacy violations by the federal government, provided Americans relief from Obamacare’s hurtful effects, and committed to pro-growth policies to get more Americans working. Instead, he showed that he refuses to hold himself or members of his Administration accountable to the American people. Rather, he intends to pursue more executive actions, in defiance of the separation of powers, the will of the American people, and their elected representatives."

Senator Cruz called on the President to answer five key questions on these topics before the State of the Union Address. The President failed to adequately do so on every count.

1) Regarding the IRS’s illegal targeting of conservatives, Senator Cruz asked:

Will the President allow the Department of Justice to appoint a special prosecutor to fully investigate the IRS's illegal targeting of conservatives? The President should be eager to prove he has clean hands on this issue. He professed to be angry and outraged by the IRS abuse. Will he pledge to stop new IRS rules that restrict the free speech of non-profit groups?

More than 250 days have passed since President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder professed outrage at the IRS’s wrongful conduct. President Obama pledged to work “hand in hand” with Congress to find out the truth and ordered the Department of Justice to conduct a criminal investigation. Since then, the Administration has stonewalled any meaningful investigation, no one has been indicted, and it has been reported that the FBI does not plan to file criminal charges. Even a top IRS official implicated in the targeting has been able to avoid testifying before Congress, temporarily received paid leave, and eventually quietly retired.

Meanwhile, the IRS is proposing new agency rules that would effectively legalize future scrutiny of conservative groups by forcing them to disclose its donors if they wished to engage in voter education. At the same time, the Department of Justice assigned a partisan Democrat, who has donated $6,570 to President Obama and the Democratic National Committee in recent years, to lead the investigation into actions at the IRS. This, on its face, is a conflict of interest.

2) Regarding the President’s promise to bring the terrorists responsible for the attacks on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi, Sen. Cruz asked:

Will the President call on Congress to form a Joint Select Committee to finally discover the truth of why four Americans perished in a preventable terrorist attack in Benghazi 16 months ago?

President Obama said nothing. More than 16 months after the September 11, 2012 attacks on Americans in Benghazi, we still do not know why our facilities were denied proper security, why no military assets were positioned near a known terrorist hotspot, why the attacks were immediately blamed on a non-existing protest by the highest levels of the Obama administration, and why no one in Washington or Libya has been held responsible for the attacks.

What we do know is four brave Americans were murdered in preventable terrorist attacks. Congress, the American people, and the families of the victims are still waiting for answers on Benghazi. President Obama, however, did not believe this subject merited a single word of his 7,000-word speech.

3) Regarding ongoing concerns about the federal government’s intrusion into our personal lives, Senator Cruz asked:

Will the President act to ensure that the privacy of law-abiding citizens is protected from unjustifiable violations by arms of the federal government such as the NSA, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Internal Revenue Service, and Department of Health and Human Services?

Although President Obama has previously created a task force to explore reforming practices by the National Security Agency, he didn’t offer any real action to protect the privacy of law-abiding citizens in his State of the Union Address.

He said nothing about the IRS targeting conservative groups seeking to exercise First Amendment rights. The fact that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) still has not put proper protections in place to safeguard personal information from security flaws that now exist on the Obamacare websites, or to restrain the newly created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) from using its virtually unfettered authority to conduct financial surveillance should worry all Americans.

4) Regarding the pain Obamacare is causing millions of Americans all over the country, Senator Cruz asked:

Will the President finally recognize that it was a mistake to ram through Obamacare on a party-line vote and that, right now, it is hurting millions of Americans? Will he take real responsibility for misleading the American people when he falsely promised “if you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan” and “if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor”? Will he acknowledge that he doesn’t have the power to unilaterally rewrite the health law for powerful favored interests such as big business and Congress? And will he finally work with Congress to repeal Obamacare and start over, adopting instead reforms that will make healthcare more personal, portable, and affordable?

President Obama offered no apology for the millions of Americans who have lost their insurance plans, or stand to lose their insurance plans due to Obamacare. He expressed no regrets for causing Americans to lose their doctors, either. He said in his speech he would “take steps without legislation to expand opportunity for more American families” but every time he has done so to change Obamacare, it was to benefit the elites—big business and Members of Congress—at the expense of American families. And, instead of extending a hand to Republicans to pursue commonsense reforms to make healthcare more personal, portable, and affordable, he chastised them for opposing Obamacare.

5) Regarding the terrible Obama economy, Senator Cruz asked:

Will the President recognize that his economic policies have failed to create the millions of jobs that he promised and have, instead, reduced the labor force participation rate to its lowest level in decades? Will he commit to commonsense, job-creating policies such as the immediate authorization of the Keystone Pipeline, a moratorium on new regulations, and fundamental tax reform for every American?

President Obama claimed more than 8 million new jobs were created and that the unemployment rate is the lowest in the past five years, ignoring the fact that too many people are still unemployed and too many have given up hope of finding a job. The labor force participation rate is at its lowest point since 1978—an alarming 62.8 percent.

There is a 4.5 million jobs gap between the Obama Recovery and the average post-1960 average recovery. In comparison to President Reagan over the same comparable period, a Reagan Recovery would have produced 7 million more jobs.

If President Obama were truly committed to job creation, he would pursue commonsense, bipartisan proposals, such as authorization of the Keystone Pipeline. But, Keystone did not get a single mention.

Finally, President Obama admitted the need to cut red tape in some cases but promised more regulation in other cases. Americans don’t need more regulations to support special interests; they need a fair playing field in which the free market can create more jobs.