ICYMI: Cruz on Fox News Sunday: Biden Position on Debt Limit ‘Blatantly Unreasonable,’ Biden is ‘Willing to Tank the Economy’
Sen. Cruz discusses debt limit negotiations, Bud Light letter
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), the ranking member of the Senate Commerce Committee, joined Shannon Bream on Fox News Sunday to discuss the U.S. debt limit and his oversight letter calling on the Beer Institute to investigate Bud Light’s marketing partnership with social media influencer Dylan Mulvaney.
During the interview, about the debt ceiling, Sen. Cruz said:
“The House of Representatives did its job. Weeks ago, it passed legislation raising the debt ceiling and it passed responsible legislation that makes real steps to rein in the out-of-control spending. And, unfortunately, Joe Biden has handed his entire agenda over to the radical left, to the Bernie Sanders and the AOCs of the world. And his view is that he is willing to tank the economy because he's unwilling to give even a penny in the trillions of new spending that have caused inflation that's hurting Americans all across the country. It's a blatantly unreasonable position, but yet he nonetheless smiles and just blames the other side.”
“There's one person on Planet Earth with the power to ensure that we don't have a default and you just played him a moment ago, his name is Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr. A responsible president would have stood up in that press conference and said, understand and hear me now, the United States of America will never, ever, ever default on our debts. We will pay the interest of our debts. The president can say that. Why can he say that? He can say that because every month, revenue from federal taxes exceeds the interest on the debt. He could take default off the table. … Do you know what's amazing, Shannon? Biden's position is way to the left of most Democrats. Recent polling shows 58 percent of Democrats think that we should have reasonable deficit reduction as part of raising the debt ceiling.”
“If you look at the bill the House passed, it's a very reasonable bill. The bill the House passed saves $4.8 trillion over 10 years. Now, that's a reasonable down payment. We owe $32 trillion. So, that's not trying to solve it all, but it's taking a reasonable step to solve it. Now, how does it do it? The big thing it does is it reduces spending from current levels to what we were spending in December of 2022. In other words, five months ago.”
About his letter to the Beer Institute, Sen. Cruz said:
“Dylan Mulvaney, the social influencer, is an influencer who targets overwhelmingly young girls, teenage girls. … It's very directly targeted at individuals who are younger than 21 and for whom it is illegal to purchase beer. And so, what Senator Blackburn and I requested is they -- that they investigate -- the Beer Institute investigate, did Anheuser-Busch deliberately target children?”
Watch the interview here.
SHANNON BREAM, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: All right. Joining us now, Texas Senator Ted Cruz. Senator, welcome back to "FOX News Sunday".
SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX): Good morning, Shannon. Good to be with you.
BREAM: Okay. So, you heard a lot of Peter's reporting and what the president had to say overnight, their early -- late in Japan, early here.
One of these ideas that he says, MAGA Republicans will let the economy suffer serious damage because -- then he'll just take the blame and not get re-elected.
That's a pretty serious allegation to make against Republicans.
CRUZ: You know, it really is unfortunate to see how Joe Biden is approaching this job. It's all politics all the time, and he consistently goes to the hard left.
He is off in Hiroshima right now, in Japan. He should be in Washington, D.C. He should be sitting down and working out a deal, working out a compromise.
The House of Representatives did its job. Weeks ago, it passed legislation raising the debt ceiling and it passed responsible legislation that makes real steps to rein in the out of control spending.
And, unfortunately, Joe Biden has handed his entire agenda over to the radical left, to the Bernie Sanders and the AOCs of the world. And his view is that he is willing to tank the economy because he's unwilling to give even a penny in the trillions of new spending that have caused inflation that's hurting Americans all across the country.
It's a blatantly unreasonable position, but yet he nonetheless smiles and just blames the other side.
BREAM: Well, is it fair to -- you know, he raised eyebrows by saying Republicans would let the economy default, damage, because they don't want to get him re -- him to get reelected, but fair for you to say that he's willing to tank the economy?
CRUZ: Yes. It is because there's one person on Planet Earth with the power to ensure that we don't have a default and you just played him a moment ago, his name is Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr.
A responsible president would have stood up in that press conference and said, understand and hear me now, the United States of America will never, ever, ever default on our debts. We will pay the interest of our debts. The president can say that.
Why can he say that? He can say that because every month, revenue from federal taxes exceeds the interest on the debt. He could take default off the table.
Joe Biden doesn't want to take default off the table, why? Because he wants to scare-monger, he wants to scare people into saying, look at this bad thing that I, Joe Biden, am threatening is going to happen, the only result is to leave $32 trillion in debt.
Do you know what's amazing, Shannon? Biden's position is way to the left of most Democrats. Recent polling shows 58 percent of Democrats think that we should have reasonable deficit reduction as part of raising the debt ceiling and yet, Joe Biden's position is, absolutely -- not.
BREAM: Well, and yeah.
CRUZ: And it's worth --
BREAM: Yeah, I was going to say that's the accusation on both sides, is that both sides are being controlled by the extremes of their party. You would say the left and many others, Republicans will say it's the progressive, it's the Squad, it's the people who say that they won't even entertain work requirements for government assistance, those kinds of things.
But the White House continues to say -- by the way, we invited somebody from the White House to come on, they chose not to come on and talk about the debt ceiling today but they did send us several memos, and one of them uses a lot of language referring to you and your party as extreme. You've taken the economy hostage. You're fighting tooth and nail to protect tax breaks for the wealthiest of Americans and biggest corporations.
CRUZ: You know, you're right. They use lots of angry rhetoric, and they call everyone else extreme. This is where actually truth and substance matters.
If you look at the bill the House passed, it's a very reasonable bill. The bill the House passed saves $4.8 trillion over 10 years. Now, that's a reasonable down payment. We owe $32 trillion. So, that's not trying to solve it all, but it's taking a reasonable step to solve it.
Now, how does it do it? The big thing it does is it reduces spending from current levels to what we were spending in December of 2022. In other words, five months ago.
And the Biden White House says, these are draconian cuts, the world will end.
I'll ask you, Shannon, in December 2022, Christmas time, did you think suddenly the federal government had withered away? Just reducing it by -- to what it was five months ago and then allowing it to grow 1 percent a year results in those savings.
But the Democrats are all in. They want to spend, for example, on 87,000 new IRS agents. They want those IRS agents to harass the American people. And Joe Biden says it's extreme not to give them this army of IRS agents.
Joe Biden wants to spend $30 billion that was appropriated for COVID funds. Now, Biden has declared the COVID emergency over, but he wants a $30 billion slush fund that hasn't been spent.
I think what the House has done is very reasonable and I'll tell you what Biden and the Democrats hate the most are work requirements for welfare.
Listen, I believe if you're an able-bodied man, you ought to be working. And I think work requirements are one of the most compassionate things you can do, because they get people back into the workforce, back supply (ph) -- providing for their family.
And Joe Biden is threatening to veto the whole thing and default on the debt because he is so opposed to getting people back to work.
BREAM: Well, I mean, he --
CRUZ: That's an extreme party.
BREAM: He voted for that at that point, he did.
CRUZ: Yeah, yes.
BREAM: But there are the voices in his party who now say it is cruel to take away that safety net from people who need something in their life to protect them when the economy is struggles, which it clearly is.
I want to make sure that we get to the 14th Amendment, because you are a constitutional scholar.
BREAM: I've seen you argue cases at the Supreme Court. You know this in and out.
Today, you heard what Peter Doocy just played, the president. The sound bite where he said, I think we have the authority to use it. Essentially, the president is looking at something that would allow him to go around Congress.
He's not the only one. Not surprisingly, somebody you disagree with quite a bit from time to time, your former Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe, talking to "Harvard Gazette" said this: Once Congress has authorized the executive branch to spend money directed where and how it is to be spent and appropriated the money, there's no question given Section 4 of the 14th Amendment which says public debt has to be paid, that the federal government must somehow pay in full those to whom its promises have been made pursuant to the law.
Your Democratic colleague Bernie Sanders among many others signed on to a letter this week, including with our next guest. It said -- he said it's unambiguous the president has that power. You heard the president say it this morning, too.
CRUZ: Well, listen, I think Biden's position on the 14th Amendment is legally frivolous. By the way, someone else who agreed with that was Barack Obama. The left tried to convince Obama to do this, and Obama said, no, you can't do this under the Constitution, under the terms of the Constitution.
That's a provision that was put in place to say that we're going to pay our civil war debts. It refers to the civil war that we had just fought and paying those war debts off.
And, by the way, Tribe's position doesn't hold water either. As I said, Joe Biden can ensure that we don't default on the debt. He has ample authority to do that and to do that right now by saying we're going to pay the interest on the debt.
What they want is not to pay the interest on the debt, what they want to do is they want to pay the $6 trillion in other government spending, and there's nothing in the 14th Amendment that gives them the power to do that.
Once -- once they run out of money, they have to obey what Congress has appropriated and what's happened -- the position of the Democrats for two months was they wouldn't talk at all. And now, their position is that we can't cut any government spending reasonably. We have to let debt keep skyrocketing.
Shannon, it's irresponsible, what we are doing to the next generations. To give you an order of magnitude -- in 2017 total government spending was about $4 trillion. Tax revenues were about $3.3 trillion. So, we had about $700 billion deficit.
Fast forward to today. Total government spending has gone from $4 trillion, all the way up to nearly $7 trillion. We've nearly doubled government spending since 2017.
What have tax revenues done? They've gone from $3.3 trillion to right about $5 trillion. So, we're taking in a lot more taxes, but they can't keep up with the Democrats' wild spending binge.
And this proposal is very reasonable. It's what a large majority of Democrats back home think we ought to do.
CRUZ: Which is have some reasonable restraints limiting spending.
BREAM: Okay. But fair to say, Republicans have added to what we have now in the debt. I mean, they voted for a lot of things.
CRUZ: Sure, yes.
BREAM: You voted multiple times to raise the debt ceiling under President Trump. So, why is this different?
CRUZ: Well, it's different because the magnitude of where the debt is, is massive. And what has happened in the last two years, you are right, during Donald Trump's presidency, during COVID, Republicans and Democrats in a bipartisan way passed emergency COVID relief that was very expensive. We're facing a pandemic. We had politicians who had shut much of the country down, and in that emergency, we acted.
What happened subsequently is that you had Joe Biden and Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi do a complete takeover of the federal government and they went on a spending binge. And all of that -- that was predominantly hard partisan spending, trillions and trillions of dollars of hard Democrat objectives, things like 87,000 new IRS agents.
I've yet to find someone in Texas who wants 87,000 new IRS agents. They understand those agents are being brought in to harass and target the political enemies of the administration. That's not an economic objective.
BREAM: Well --
CRUZ: That's a political objective.
BREAM: We're being told that they are being brought in to bring more revenue, which we know we hit a record level in fiscal '22 for government revenue that -- that was brought in. So, talking about where that money that goes is another part of the conversation.
I want to quickly --
CRUZ: But the more revenue -- sure, the more revenue is going to be from the people they target, which sadly under this administration, has proven to be their political enemies.
BREAM: Okay. And it does tend to be lower income people. It's not always the billionaires out there, who are getting those audits.
Quickly before you go, I want to ask you about --
BREAM: -- you've written to Anheuser-Busch, to ask them to investigate a deal that Bud Light had with influencer Dylan Mulvaney, and whether that amounted to wrongfully targeting alcohol advertising at young people.
There's been some pushback as you would imagine. And there's been this warning from a lot of folks, including the "Intelligencer Magazine", says this, as Republicans prepare for 2024 presidential campaign, the fact that one cannot win a GOP primary without titillating culture war addicts is undermining the party's prospects for winning the next general election.
"Reuters" has been reporting that GOP megadonor Peter Teal doesn't want to get financially involved this time around because he's worried about focusing on things like transgenderism, on abortion.
What do you make about these warnings that you're going to alienate big donors and potentially voters by focusing on these issues?
CRUZ: Listen, I think number one, the Democrat Party on issues of culture has gone really extreme. This is a party that embraces medical transition, sex changes for children, 8, 9, 10-year-old children, medical surgeries, sterilizing kids, removing perfectly healthy body parts.
I got to say, I think that is extreme. I think that's child abuse. No 8-year-old has the maturity to make a decision to give up the ability to have children for the rest of his or her life. And any adult that is doing that to an 8-year-old is abusing that child.
And I think -- the Democrats, I don't know why on these issues, they've gotten so extreme.
If you look at Bud Light, I can't think of a time when a company's gone more out of its way to alienate and irritate its customers. It's almost like they never met an actual Bud Light drinker.
And the letter I sent -- Marsha Blackburn and I together, sent a letter, concerned a different aspect of this, which is -- which is the beer companies operate under rules that prohibit their marketing to minors. Remember, Joe Camel and all of that investigation, that they're not allowed to market to minors.
And Dylan Mulvaney, the social influencer, is an influencer who targets overwhelmingly young girls, teenage girls, pre-pubescent girls. If you look at Dylan Mulvaney's TikTok and Instagram, you have things like Dylan Mulvaney saying, I am a 6-year-old girl. Dylan Mulvaney going and shopping for Barbies. Days of girl hood.
It's very directly targeted at individuals who are younger than 21 and for whom it is illegal to purchase beer.
And so, what Senator Blackburn and I requested is they -- that they investigate -- the Beer Institute investigate, did Anheuser-Busch deliberately target children? Do they have marketing documents that laid out, hey, if we can get kids starting to drink beer when they're 10, 12, 14 years old, they'll be customers the rest of their lives --
BREAM: Well --
CRUZ: -- because if they did, they are violating the rules that applied to the marketing of alcohol.
BREAM: Well, trust me, if you get your hands on those documents, all of America will want to know. So let us know about any response you get.
Senator Cruz, we appreciate your time.
CRUZ: Thanks, Shannon.