Small-Government Conservative Ted Cruz Wants Millions in Extra Spending

For all his claims about being fiscally conservative, Ted Cruz sure isn't acting like it in his wild-eyed quest to keep every single government penny away from Planned Parenthood. Cruz, along with a number of his farthest right compatriots in Congress, have made it very clear over the past month or so they are willing to shut the entire federal government down to keep federal money out of the hands of the women's health provider. Despite the facts that shutting the government down won't accomplish anything and that many members of his own party think a shutdown would be a disaster, Cruz is soldiering on, dead set on appealing to the partisans he needs to fuel his bid for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination.

Wednesday, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office issued its estimate as to the potential costs of giving Cruz what he wants — stripping health services from 650,000 women. According to the CBO, cutting Planned Parenthood's funding could cost the federal government as much as $130 million over the next 10 years. The increased spending would result in the potential rise in unplanned births, stemming from lack of access to both birth control and abortion. In 2013, Planned Parenthood received about $30 million from the feds, the CBO says. The births themselves would cost the government money, as would those kids' future qualification for government benefits.

How high government spending would soar under Cruz plan depends on the number of Planned Parenthood's current patients who would no longer be able to care for their reproductive health. The CBO estimates as few as 5 percent, or as many as 25 percent, of women served by Planned Parenthood would have reduced access to healthcare they previously received.

"Today’s estimates from the CBO reaffirm what we already know: Defunding Planned Parenthood is bad policy and bad politics, and would hurt patients across the country. Planned Parenthood serves 2.7 million women, men and young each year and provides essential services like cancer screenings and helps prevent unintended pregnancy. The extreme attempt to cut those millions off from care continues to be a losing proposition for the American people," Planned Parenthood Executive Vice President Dawn Laguens said in a statement.

Cruz's current upset over Planned Parenthood centers primarily on the substantially manipulated videos released by the Center for Medical Progress that purportedly show the organization selling fetal tissue, but actually show nothing of the sort. Cruz says Planned Parenthood is selling baby parts and has to be stopped. He can't actually get that done, as expensive as it would be, so he's making as much noise as possible. Wednesday, he said shutdowns weren't that bad and called his party's leaders weak.

"When Reagan was president, there were eight partial shutdowns, including six before his historic 1984 re-election. The world didn’t end. But that’s what happens sometimes when a leader fights for his principles. The alternative — Republican leadership’s current strategy — is to surrender on everything and leave Harry Reid as the de facto leader of the Senate. We can do better," Cruz said.
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Stephen Young has written about Dallas news for the Observer since 2014. He's a Dallas native and a graduate of the University of North Texas.
Contact: Stephen Young