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The News with Sen. Cruz - January 9, 2015

This week marked the beginning of the 114th Congress, and I am optimistic that with a new Republican majority, we will effectively work to bring back jobs, growth, and opportunity, protect our constitutional liberties, and restore American leadership in the world.

I remain committed to fighting for legislative efforts that will stop President Obama’s illegal executive amnesty, fully repeal Obamacare, and to pursue policies that will turn around our economy.

Additionally, this week I proudly signed on as cosponsor to Sen. Tim Scott’s resolution to champion school choice. The key to reviving the American Dream is the education of our children, and school choice will ensure all students have a future filled with hope and opportunity.

Please keep reading for an update on the latest in the Senate.

All the best,

TC Sig
Ted Cruz

School Choice Is the Civil Rights Issue of the 21st Century

This week, Sen. Cruz cosponsored legislation with Sen. Tim Scott, R-SC, to designate the week of January 25 through January 31, 2015 as “National School Choice Week.”

“School choice is the civil rights issue of the twenty-first century,” Sen. Cruz said. “Sixty years ago, the Supreme Court ruled in Brown v. Board of Education that all children, regardless of race, deserve an equal opportunity to learn. Yet sadly today millions of children – many in minority communities – are trapped in failing schools with no other educational options. We must fight to reverse this trend and open the doors of opportunity and school choice for these kids. Sen. Scott is a clarion voice in the fight to expand school choice, which is the most effective engine we have to improve the quality of education. I’m proud for us to be working together to give every child an equal opportunity to learn and succeed.”

The full text of the resolution may be viewed here.

Sen. Cruz Condemns Terrorist Attack on Journalists in France

On Wednesday, Sen. Cruz posted the following statement on the terrorist attack in Paris, France, that tragically killed at least 12 people at Charlie Hebdo magazine:

The United States stands in solidarity with our long-standing NATO ally France in this ongoing battle with radical Islamic terrorism.

This most recent savage attack-- on Charlie Hebdo --is an attack on us all. Freedom of the press is at the heart of all free societies. From Ottawa to Jerusalem to Sydney to Paris we need to band together to defend the values that make us great.

Sen. Cruz Responds to the Palestinian Authority’s Attempt to Dictate Terms to Israel

In response to the Palestinian Authority’s attempts to dictate terms to Israel at the recent United Nations Security Council, Sen. Cruz released the following statement in defense of Israel:

It is a sad day for the United States and Israel—and also for the Palestinian people.

Despite the Obama administration’s robust financial support for the Palestinian Authority, the President’s influence is so diminished that he has been unable to dissuade the P.A. from taking this reckless and counterproductive action at the United Nations. Our Israeli friends thus find themselves confronting not only deadly regional enemies—notably Iran that is once again asserting its sponsorship of the P.A.—but also the court of world opinion that is implacably hostile to the Jewish state. And the Palestinian people have once again been betrayed by cynical leaders who are keeping them prisoners of self-destructive hate and undermining the prospects for peace through this unilateral bid to dictate terms to Israel through the U.N.

The Obama administration’s six-year campaign to cajole and bribe the P.A. into responsible behavior has failed. This most recent action demonstrates yet again that the P.A. is not a legitimate negotiating partner. It is not enough to simply object to this resolution while leaving the door open to future iterations. The United States should declare our unambiguous opposition to any and all attempts to exploit the U.N. to unilaterally gain recognition of Palestinian statehood. We should make clear that continuing these efforts will result in the immediate freeze in American financial support to the P.A. At the same time, we need to make equally unambiguous our support for Israel’s imperative to directly negotiate terms with the Palestinians that will guarantee the safety and integrity of the Jewish state. Rather than threatening the Israelis with penalties if they do not offer the Palestinians intolerable security concessions, we should redouble our efforts to ensure that security through mutual investment in programs ranging from missile defense to natural gas exploration.

Such actions might not be popular at the U.N. or in Tehran, but they would provide a much-needed clarity to a monumental challenge – and through that clarity might actually help provide a real path to peace. If President Obama insists on doubling down on his futile efforts to engage the P.A. – while continuing to distance his administration from Israel – the 114th Congress should step into the void to provide strong American leadership on this issue.

ICYMI: Sen. Cruz's TIME Op-Ed on Obama’s Changed Cuba Policy

Shortly before Christmas, in response to President Obama’s announced plan to relax the United States’ economic embargo on Cuba, Sen. Cruz penned an op-ed in TIME highlighting the story of Cuban dissidents and proposing his alternative to the President’s policy.

See excerpts below:

In July 2013, I had the opportunity to speak with two prominent Cuban dissidents, Elizardo Sanchez and Guillermo Farinas. Both men had been supporters of the Castros-Sanchez as an academic, Farinas as a soldier-but had come to realize the real brutal, authoritarian nature of their Communist regime. Farinas, for example, spoke of the moment of clarity he had the first time he read Animal Farm during the 1980s, in Russian because he was in the Soviet Union receiving specialized military training.

Sanchez and Farinas painted a grim picture of life in Cuba, which they said had become "a big jail" since 1959. They described how the Castros have a comprehensive apparatus of oppression that exploits economic control, political repression, and propaganda to control each and every Cuban citizen. Growing up in Cuba, they said, meant choosing between becoming part of the repression, pretending to be mentally ill, abandoning your homeland, or confronting the regime, in which case you risked being killed, jailed, or beaten.

My family knows this hard truth about Cuba all too well. My father was imprisoned and tortured by Batista, and my aunt was imprisoned and tortured by Castro. Both fled for America and for freedom.


As Sanchez and Farinas pointed out, no one can deny that the Castros have successfully exploited their enmity with the United States to enhance their reputation as revolutionary freedom fighters. And as the critics of the embargo argue, we are 50 years into the project and the Castros are still in power. Of course we should look for new ways to relieve the misery of the Cuban people—but there are better options than what the Obama administration has proposed.

First, the United States should have demanded the immediate and unconditional release of Alan Gross before we negotiated economic relief for Cuba. We celebrate his return, but it should have been beholden on the Castros to demonstrate good faith in advance of any concessions on our part. And we should not be creating incentives for other oppressive regimes to seize and ransom American citizens.

In addition, the United States should have recognized the significant pressures the Castro regime currently faces, which recall those in the late 1990s when deprived of Soviet sponsorship, their regime was threatened with economic catastrophe. Then, Hugo Chavez stepped in to save them, but now, with the impending collapse of the Venezuelan economy, disaster looms again. If the United States is to provide an economic lifeline to Cuba at this critical juncture, we might have extracted some significant concessions:

Rather than arbitrary prisoner releases, the United States should demand significant legal reform so that the Cuban government can no longer detain its citizens—or ours—indefinitely with no process. Otherwise the 53 prisoners they are to release under the terms of this deal can simply be picked up again at the whim of the Castro regime.

Rather than vague promises of exploring political liberalization, the United States should demand that the political opposition to the Castros be included in any and all negotiations with Cuba, so their concerns will be fully heard and their priorities addressed. Otherwise there will be no incentive for the Castro regime to engage in necessary political reforms.

Rather than unilaterally lifting the economic embargo on Cuba, the United States should calibrate any relaxation of sanctions directly to the cessation of their repression and human rights violations. Otherwise, American dollars will flow exclusively into the Castros’ pockets while the Cuban people have no relief.

These are only a few of the many ideas I look forward to our considering when the 114th Congress convenes in January. But one area on which there is already broad, bi-partisan consensus is that President Obama’s new Cuba policy is yet another very bad deal brokered by this administration. First Russia, then Iran, now Cuba.

Read the full op-ed here.