On Sept. 27, 2013 The Texas Tribune Festival hosted a talk between Senator Ted Cruz and CEO and Editor-in-Chief of the Texas Tribune Evan Smith.

Cruz, who gained notoriety last week after a 21-hour speech in the Senate to delay the Affordable Care Act (ACA), was present for the interview via telecast. Delay over passing a federal budget kept Cruz in Washington where he continued the fight against the soon-to-be implemented universal healthcare law.

Raised in Houston, Cruz received an undergraduate degree from Princeton and a law degree from Harvard. As a prominent figure in the Republican Party, Cruz has been instrumental in the fight against the ACA.

“It had been my hope that Senate Republicans would unite,” stated Cruz about the movement to defund the ACA. “They were able to fund President Obama, and I think that’s unfortunate. The House is going to stand strong and pass a resolution that will make real progress.”

Preceding Cruz’s infamous pseudo-filibuster, rumors circulated in Congress that Cruz was counseling members of the Senate to disregard House Speaker John Boehner. Cruz responded to the rumors by saying, “A lot of silly things have been written in this process.”

When Smith asked Cruz explicitly if his answer was no, Cruz responded saying, “You did not hear a yes. At the end of the day, every member of the House is going to have to make a decision. The biggest thing I have been urging people to do is to listen to their constituents.”

The debate over funding the ACA comes at a critical time, as congress must vote on a working budget for the fiscal year, scheduled to begin on Oct. 1. Without this critical vote, the government will shut down, halting all nonessential government services.

“There is plenty of time to avert a shutdown,” claimed Cruz. “(We) will only have one if Harry Reid and President Obama insist on a shutdown.”

Focusing on the debate over universal health care, Smith localized the ACA by discussing health care in Texas. Over a quarter of Texans are uninsured, incurring large debts for emergency care centers. Rather than supplying universal health care, Cruz believes in personal insurance plans that are separate from employment.

“The best way for them (uninsured) to get health insurance is for them to get a good paying job,” said Cruz. “After Obamacare is repealed, I think we need serious reform, such as expanding competition and encouraging patient empowerment. We should encourage the development of personal health plans. It’s all about encouraging you.”

Cruz has also been active on congressional issues of immigration. Claiming to be the strongest supporter of immigration in the senate, Cruz discussed a recent bill he authored to increase caps on immigration, which was voted down.

“I think that was a real mistake,” said Cruz of the bill’s failure. However, concerning illegal immigrants currently living in the U.S., Cruz stated, “There is no chance the House is going to pass a path to amnesty for those who are here illegally.”

Cruz’s recent fame in the Senate has not gone unnoticed. CNN polls show that Cruz is the leading choice among Republicans for the 2016 presidential race.

When asked if he plans to run for president, Cruz turned focus back to current issues, he said, “I’m trying to focus on just getting the job done, not the politics.”

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