(Photo: Courtesy of National Right to Life)
DALLAS, Texas — Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) held a brief press conference following his speech Friday at the 43rd annual National Right to Life Convention in Dallas, Texas, and spoke about late-term abortion and the Senate's gang of eight immigration reform bill that passed earlier this week.
When asked about Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis' (D-Ft. Worth), successful filibuster of a bill that would ban late-term abortions in the Lone Star state after the fifth month of pregnancy, Cruz said he didn't agree with her actions, and condemned the pro-abortion lobby and protesters who aggressively disrupted the political process at the state capitol, but said he wasn't going to criticize the state senator for standing up for her convictions.
"I think it is unfortunate that we saw people using tactics to try to disrupt the legislative process," Cruz said, "and to stop elected representatives from voting their principles, and from voting for a policy that is supported by a large majority of Texans."
He continued, "In the wake of the Kermit Gosnell trial, where we saw unspeakable horrors carried out by Gosnell – horrors for which he has now been convicted and will be spending a lifetime in prison – all of us, I think, have been confronted with the practices of late-term abortion. And a large majority of Texans want to see an end to late-term abortions, and want to see an end to taking the life of unborn children, especially late in the pregnancy. And I thought it was unfortunate that a handful of protesters felt they had a right to shut down the legislative process because they wanted to prevent that from being enacted."
Regarding Davis, Cruz said that although he doesn't know her personally, he assumes she's standing for principles she believes in.
"I certainly respect anyone who stands and fights for their principles," said Cruz, who has received a 100 percent pro-life rating from the National Right to Life Committee. "At the end of the day, I think the positions she is advocating for are inconsistent with the views of the majority of Texans."
Senate's gang of eight immigration reform bill
Speaking about the gang of eight's controversial immigration reform bill, Cruz believes that Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.), and Senate Democrats decided to force through an immigration bill that if it became law, would not fix the immigration system.
"If this bill were enacted, it would result in increasing illegal immigration, and it will not secure the borders. One of the most disturbing aspects of this bill is that it creates a federal tax penalty for companies hiring U.S. citizens or legal immigrants," he said.
Using a hypothetical business as an illustrative example for how the gang of eight's immigration bill and Obamacare will impact small businesses and their employees, Cruz noted that "if a company that has more than 50 employees hires a U.S. citizen or a legal immigrant and follows the rules, then that company, if they don't provide a government approved healthcare plan, pays a $5,000 tax penalty, effectively. It's a $3,000 penalty, but it's not deductible, so the impact to the company is roughly $5,000. And that's per employee."
"I gave a speech on the Senate floor talking about how this bill would impact a small business. Imagine Joe's Hamburger Shack – a small business with 100 employees, five different restaurants – and let's suppose the business is doing pretty well and they want to hire five new employees. If the gang of eight bill became law, and they decided to hire five new employees who were U.S. citizens or who were legal immigrants, the business would have to pay $5,000 a piece to the IRS each year – that's a $25,000 hit for hiring U.S. citizens. If instead, they hire people who are here illegally now who get legalized under the gang of eight bill, they pay zero."
According to Cruz, one impact of the gang of eight's immigration reform bill is that it would impose a tax penalty on businesses for hiring U.S. citizens and legal immigrants, and provide a tax incentive for hiring people who are in the U.S. illegally.
"Suppose the business is not doing well," Cruz added. "They decided they need to reduce their employees' hours to below 30 hours a week to fall out of Obamacare. And 25 of their 100 employees are people who are here illegally, but have since been legalized and have gotten RPI status under the gang of eight. If they reduce the hours of 25 U.S. citizens to 29 hours a week or below, the business would save $125,000 a year. If they reduce the hours of the people who are here illegally, they would save zero."
Cruz said he believes the bill "makes no sense whatsoever."
Providing a personal example, Cruz recounted his father's story in which 55 years ago he arrived in the U.S. as an immigrant from Cuba, at 18. He was penniless and couldn't speak English, but managed to get a job as a dishwasher. "If the gang of eight bill had been the law when my father was washing dishes, they would've fired him," Cruz asserted. "And they would've fired him because there would've been a $5,000 penalty for hiring him as a legal immigrant who followed the rules. Whereas, his employer could save that $5,000 by hiring someone who came here illegally. That makes no sense, and that is an integral part of the bill that passed."
Cruz called the passage of the gang of eight's immigration reform bill "political theatre," and said he believes it has no chance of passing the House.
"Sens. Harry Reid, Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), and President Obama know that this bill won't pass the House. Repeatedly, I tried to pass amendments to put in real border security and strengthen legal immigration – to create a bill that could pass. I would like common sense immigration reform to pass. I think most Americans want to fix our broken immigration system, secure the borders first and improve legal immigration. But unfortunately, on the floor of the Senate, Harry Reid shut down amendments. I introduced nine amendments. Harry Reid allowed votes on zero of the amendments I introduced," Cruz said.
"Instead, he forced through a political bill, which succeeded in getting a whole bunch of good headlines. But Harry Reid and President Obama know full well it has no chance of passing the House of Representatives. And I think it is cynical and unfortunate to be trying to score partisan political points, as President Obama is doing with this, rather than sitting down and working on a compromise that will fix immigration and fix the problem."