Sen. Cruz: Badly Needed COVID Relief Should Have Passed as Standalone Bill Months Ago, Not in Taxpayer Funded Spending Spree
Vows to fight for priorities of American people, work to safely re-open economy, and get hardworking men and women back to work
WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) today issued the following statement after voting against the multi-trillion dollar end-of-year spending package:
"Though the mainstream media and lobbyists will hail this legislative monstrosity as a tremendous victory, make no mistake: urgently-needed COVID-19 relief was tied to a $1.4 trillion wasteful end-of-year spending bill and countless pet projects that will escape close scrutiny because three times, congressional Democrats rejected good faith efforts to pass targeted relief.
"With new shutdown orders targeting small businesses and disproportionately affecting minority and low-income workers, many Americans remain out of work and unable to make ends meet. According to one study, one in four small business owners will close their doors if economic conditions don't improve soon. Had this bill been solely focused on re-opening the economy, getting Americans back to work, and jump starting a recovery, it would have had my enthusiastic support. For example, the final COVID-19 package rejects Democrats' misguided attempts to bail out blue states' underfunded pension plans and replenishes the Paycheck Protection Program - which will go a long way in helping small businesses keep their doors open and employees on the payroll.
"It also includes funding for vaccine procurement and distribution, and will support states in their efforts to expand testing. With two vaccines already distributed to Americans across the country, these are meaningful developments as we work to defeat this virus, re-open our country, and continue to grow our economy. But they should have been passed in a standalone bill months ago, instead of in a bloated package thrown together during the annual year-end taxpayer funded spending spree.
"Unfortunately, this behemoth did not end there.
"Generations of Americans are already stuck with a $27 trillion national debt, and Washington politicians are indiscriminately adding to the tab. This nearly 5,600-page spending package fails to make any meaningful spending cuts and instead advances the interests of the radical Left, special interests, and swamp lobbyists, with funding going towards expanding authority for more H-2B visas for foreign workers while a near record number of Americans remain unemployed, as well as laying the ground work for Democrats to implement the ‘Green New Deal' by claiming a ‘need' to meet the power demand in the United States through clean, renewable, or zero-emission energy sources.
"Unfortunately, in addition to badly needed coronavirus relief, Democrats held hostage important national security and military measures to pass their liberal wish list, including support for weapons systems like the F-35 and B-21 bomber programs, which I have consistently fought for, as well as missile defense technologies that we work with our Israeli allies to develop for our mutual safety. Finally, this legislation included several measures related to international diplomacy that I have championed, from ensuring that our allies in Europe, Middle East, and Western Hemisphere have the resources to defend themselves, all the way to requiring that the State Department revisit its guidelines that undermine our Taiwanese allies by, among others things, prohibiting them from displaying symbols of their sovereignty.
"I would have also enthusiastically voted for the Water Resource Development Act, which is critical for the construction of the Port of Houston's ship channel expansion project, a port that supports roughly 3.2 million jobs.
"These are important proposals and they should not have been muddied by this multi-trillion dollar mess. Like I've said before, this haphazard spending process is yet another example of the brokenness of Congress.
"Far too many parents also remain unable to send their children to school. An entire generation of students' education has been put on hold, as children and teachers alike have been left to navigate the challenges of distance learning. And yet this bill does nothing to expand school choice or empower families with the flexibility they need to support their children's education. In fact, just the opposite - in a bad sign for America's kids and the state of the U.S. education system during the pandemic, this bill delays NAEP, the national school assessment testing.
"Simply put, Democrats exploited the need for relief to advance their political agenda instead of working on legislation that puts our nation on the path to recovery. Now more than ever, our focus should be on providing parents and families support for their children's education as they're struggling with school disruptions during this pandemic, empowering small businesses to re-hire their employees and re-open their doors by cutting taxes and rolling back burdensome federal regulations, and reining in out of control spending that further exacerbates the economic challenges we're currently facing. These are the priorities I'll continue to fight for in the Senate, because these are the priorities of the American people."