Students react to hours-long Cruz speech
Published: Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, September 25, 2013 00:09
Three years after president Obama signed the Affordable Care Act, the controversy surrounding it continues to gridlock Washington D.C. and the nation, most recently evidenced by the standoff between Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and the U.S. Senate still occurring at the time of publication.
Cruz began an informal filibuster on the floor of the Senate on Tuesday at 1:40 p.m. CST to bring attention to his attempts at blocking implementation of the Affordable Care Act. While a formal filibuster on the budget vote later this week is unlikely, Cruz said he would keep speaking until he was “no longer able to stand.”
Cruz’s stall tactics, while aimed at defunding Obama’s health care reforms, contribute to the larger picture of finalizing the federal budget for continued government operations. If no consensus on the federal budget is reached by Oct.1, the U.S. government will shut down all services except those deemed critical.
Controversy has surrounded Cruz’s stall tactics, garnering criticism from both political parties. Reactions from voices on campus demonstrate the divisive nature of the reform.
“I think Ted Cruz is an idiot,” said Danny Yeager, chemistry professor and advisor to the Texas Aggie Democrats student organization. “The legislation was passed four years ago with a large majority. He is obstructing what’s going on in the Senate and the will of the people.”
Yeager said stall tactics such as Cruz’s stand in the way of the democratic process, and that a filibuster should not be used to try and stop what the people voted for.
“We should not be having a filibuster where the majority obviously favors what’s going on in terms of the [Affordable Care Act], and it should not be subjected to a filibuster where one senator who is way out of the mainstream of American politics can stop what’s being done,” Yeager said. “It’s totally ridiculous.”
Others disagree with Yeager and support both Cruz’s methods and motives behind repealing current health care reform.
Kenneth Briggs, senior mechanical engineering major and public contact for Young Americans for Liberty, said Cruz’s actions are in line with the purpose of Congress.
“The purpose of Congress should be to deliberate over legislation and to try and provide a platform to get as many voices heard as possible when considering a piece of legislation, and I think a filibuster is a very important tool to allow that,” Briggs said.
While the possible repeal of the act by the current democrat-controlled Senate is not likely, Briggs said Cruz’s stand has implications beyond the current vote because a repeal can occur with conservative congressional victories in later elections.
“[Ted Cruz] has a platform to speak about [health care reform] and to persuade people about it so that in the future, if you can convince enough people, ‘Obamacare’ can be repealed,” Briggs said.
Texas Aggie Democrats disagree with Cruz’s actions and said he is using the heightened tensions of possible government shutdown as a political tool.
“Due to this filibuster’s inability to impact legislation, it is apparent that Senator Ted Cruz is using his elected position to stand in the national spotlight in order to further his own personal and political agenda. The senator is showing a supreme lack of consideration for his constituents and his actions are embarrassing to Texans,” Texas Aggie Democrats said in a prepared statement.