Senator Ted Cruz wasn't joking when he threatened last week to shut down the government if the Affordable Care Act, passed by Congress and upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, moves forward.
Now, buoyed by his victory in an early presidential straw poll in Iowa, he's doubling down on his salted-fields-and-scorched-earth fight against Obamacare.
"If ordinary Washington rules apply, we can't win this fight," Cruz told Texas reporters during a conference call on Wednesday, according to the Texas Tribune. "We don't have the votes, and we are unlikely to get the votes in closed-door meetings in Washington. The only way that we win this fight is if the American people rise up."
The clock is ticking. Two months from today, the budget for fiscal year 2014 goes into effect. If Obamacare provisions are included, -- health insurance exchanges, health insurance subsidies, the individual mandate -- they will be all but impossible to undo.
"My focus for the next 61 days is very directly targeted to one thing, and that is working to defund Obamacare," he said. "In my view, this is the best opportunity we have to defund Obamacare and quite possibly our last opportunity to effectively defund Obamacare."
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The problem, as Cruz alluded to earlier, is that even Republicans aren't so sure this whole bring-the-federal-government-to-a-screeching-halt thing is a good idea. So, Cruz is attempting to exert a little outside pressure.
The Dallas Morning News explains:
From Aug. 19 to 29, he'll barnstorm the country with Jim DeMint, the tea party patron, former senator and Heritage Foundation president. Their "Defund Obamacare Tour" will include a town hall-style event in Dallas on Aug. 20, Heritage said Wednesday.
Cruz argues that this is no time for timidity, because once the law's subsidies kick in next year, Americans will quickly become addicted.
"The Obama administration knows that in modern times, no major entitlement program that's been implemented has ever been unwound," he said, arguing that Republicans can avoid political fallout if they persuade the public to join them.
And what could be funner than a road trip with Jim DeMint and Ted Cruz? Absolutely anything.