U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz continued his statewide tour with a stop in Temple on Tuesday to discuss health care, immigration and the economy during a federal policy luncheon held by the Temple Chamber of Commerce.
More than 200 local residents and business owners attended the lunch in the Hilton Garden Inn, where the Republican senator spent roughly half an hour talking and then answered questions from the audience.
The economy was one of the main issues that Cruz addressed, delving into issues such as the national debt, jobs and recent federal tax cuts.
“My No. 1 priority in the Senate, since day one, has been jobs,” Cruz told the Temple audience. “When you look back in history, if your priority is jobs, it’s not really rocket science. When small businesses prosper, jobs are aplenty.”
In addition to jobs, Cruz talked about the need to lower the national deficit that the country has racked up since President George W. Bush was in office. Cruz said that the national debt was currently the biggest threat to the county.
Cruz, who also spoke in Dallas and Corsicana this week, talked about what he would want to change with the current health care system.
Regarding health care, the senator spent most of his time talking about the flaws of the Affordable Care Act — Obamacare — and the proposed socialized medicine systems that Democratic presidential candidates propose.
“Health care is an enormously important issue and it is a personal issue,” Cruz said. “If you look at health care, I think we need to have more options and it needs to be more affordable. I think if we look back now, we can see there have been enormous failures under Obamacare that have hurt millions of Texans and millions of Americans.”
A study released last week showed the number of uninsured people increased in 2017 for the first time since the Affordable Care Act exchanges opened in 2013, USA Today reported. About 2.5 million people left Obamacare health insurance exchanges between 2016 and 2018, according to data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services cited by the newspaper.
Immigration was another important topic Cruz addressed.
Cruz suggested that to combat the influx of migrants, the country needed to increase the number of Border Patrol officers, build a border wall and increase residency checks for businesses.
“I think it is basic common sense that we need to secure our border,” Cruz said. “It is not remotely compassionate to support a system that encourages illegal immigration. I have proposed tripling the U.S. Border Patrol so that way you have law enforcement there to apprehend.”
Cruz talked about the infighting he has seen in Washington, D.C., and how many of those who are supposed to be representing the people seek only to play politics and get kickbacks for their states instead.
Temple Councilwoman Judy Morales said she was encouraged by the senator’s words about political divisions in the country.
“We have so many enemies (outside) of the country, but we make ourselves the enemies of our own country when we are so divided,” Morales said. “Hopefully, one of these days we will see (the country) come back together.”