U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), today issued the following statement regarding his vote against the omnibus spending bill:
“Tonight, Congress missed yet another opportunity to get our spending under control, clean up the corruption in Washington, and enact policies that will actually help, rather than hurt, hardworking Americans.
“American families and small businesses are facing an inflation crisis driven by runaway government spending. Over the past two years, Congress has spent $6 trillion for emergencies as part of six supplemental spending packages. That spending is on top of the trillions we spend each year as part of the regular budget. Over the past year, inflation has wiped out more than three years of wage gains by hard working Americans. To get inflation under control, we need to rein in spending, not open up the spigot even more than we already have.
“Gas prices are at record highs nationwide. We could have taken this opportunity to provide relief for millions of Americans by reinstating policies to increase domestic oil and gas production and returning the U.S. to energy independence. We should have directed the administration to restart federal oil and gas leasing, approve pending permits, and spur private capital investment by energy producers. Instead, this bill doubles down on the Democrats’ failed green new deal policies, the very same policies that have led to record-high gas prices.
“After a decade, this bill also marks a return to the corrupt practice of earmarks, to the tune of $10 billion. With the American people suffering under the crushing weight of inflation, I’m disgusted that Congress would go back to the corrupt and wasteful process of doling out earmarks to political allies and pet projects.
“I promised the people of Texas more than a month ago that I would not support any bill that funded President Biden’s illegal, unconstitutional, and tyrannical COVID-19 vaccine mandates. No one should not be forced to choose between a COVID jab or their job. No one should have to risk losing their livelihood or the ability to provide for their family simply because they choose to not get a COVID-19 vaccine. Tonight, we had an opportunity to end these out of control vaccine mandates by adopting an amendment offered by Sen. Mike Lee. But instead of listening to the American people and joining with us to provide relief, Senate Democrats voted it down. It was shameful, it was immoral, and it was wrong.
“For nearly two years, Democrat politicians and the union bosses that control them kept schools shut down, preventing kids from going to school and getting an education. School shutdowns have led to learning loss and a mental health crisis. At the behest of the union bosses, state officials continue to impose mask and vaccine mandates, the latter of which, once enforced, will result in unvaccinated kids being denied access to go to school. This bill will fund schools with vaccine mandates, including schools that have vaccinated kids without parental consent. That is an outrageous overreach.
“Additionally, this bill contains a version of the Israel Relations Normalization Act that waters down American policy supportive of our Israeli allies. The Biden administration is presently engaged in a broad campaign to delegitimize Israel, including by offering million-dollar grants to NGOs who are acting to undermine the Jewish state. The inclusion of this language will provide momentum and justification for further moves by the Biden administration to erode Israel diplomatically, including by elevating Palestinian claims to Jerusalem and undermining Israel’s sovereignty in its capital city.
“While, on balance, I could not vote for this entire package, I wholeheartedly support multiple provisions that could have easily and unanimously passed the Senate as a separate bill. This bill funds Israel’s Iron Dome, which will help our close ally protect her citizens from terrorist rocket attacks. I also support the funding to provide Ukraine with the military and humanitarian assistance they badly need in the face of Russian aggression. The Nonprofit Security Grant program, which is the program that has been instrumental in preventing attacks against houses of worship, such as the one perpetrated against Beth Israel Synagogue in Colleyville on January 15, is also funded in this bill. While I sought more funding for the nonprofit security grant program, I am glad to see this program funded, even if at a lower level than is needed. In addition, this bill also includes a key transportation priority for Texas. The bill designates the I-27, Ports-to-Plains Corridor as an interstate highway, an important step for upgrading this critical infrastructure, which will help not only Texas farmers, ranchers, manufacturers, and energy producers trying to reach different markets, but also the communities all along I-27, from Mexico to Canada, and the nation as a whole.”