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Mark Caserta: Nation needs more selfless legislators

Oct. 03, 2013 @ 08:37 AM

Last week, the nation witnessed open and honest oratory about the condition of Washington politics — and it wasn’t pretty.

During his 21-hour marathon speech on the merits of defunding Obamacare, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas) exposed as much about the faults of the GOP as he did on the shortcomings of Barack Obama’s signature health reform bill.

Remember, Congress hasn’t been able to pass a budget since April, 2009. Instead, they’ve passed a series of “Continuing Resolutions” (CR) or short-term funding bills designed to keep the government running. This malfeasance of “kicking the can down the road” has left our nation in a financial mess.

The battle began with a Republican-controlled House vote to pass a CR that would fund the entire government but eliminate the federal dollars needed for the Affordable Care Act.

Senate leadership, upon receiving the proposal, sought a “cloture” vote, a procedural motion which would allow them to remove the House language defunding Obamacare with a simple “party-line” majority vote and then send it back to the House.

You’ve all played “hot potato”? Same thing. The last legislative body holding the bill’s final vote gets the blame for the outcome, only with the liberal media officiating.

Sen. Cruz knew he had no chance of influencing the Democrat-controlled Senate’s vote. Anyone following this healthcare debacle knew Sen. Cruz’s “filibuster” on the Senate floor was simply an act of futility.

Or was it?

Frankly, the senator from Texas was able to accomplish what no representative in recent history has been very successful at doing – achieve bipartisan agreement in Congress, even if the agreement was on criticizing Sen. Cruz and the Tea Party!

You see, Washington is very quick to take issue with anyone who dares “step outside” of their “comfy” legislative routine. Politicians cringe at the prospect of change and do everything in their power to avoid it.  It doesn’t feel good.  It means they may actually have to take a stand for their constituents that might make their stay in Washington uncomfortable. They may actually have to research a topic, show up for a vote and risk offending some political action committee somewhere. 

Ted Cruz, has been deemed a traitor by many of his colleagues for calling out representatives on both sides who subscribe to agendas other than the people’s needs. He likened some legislators to “professional magicians” adept at the art of distraction with “smoke and mirrors” representation to constituents back home.

But despite the rebuke of Democrats and Republicans alike, Sen. Cruz accomplished exactly what he meant to accomplish. 

The American people are now immensely more informed about the “train wreck” called Obamacare and how thousands of people are already being negatively impacted.

And by design, Senator Cruz has exposed at least 25 GOP Senators who voted with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Obamacare, unwilling to live up to their promise of repealing and replacing the worst legislative nightmare in our nation’s history.

 God bless Ted Cruz and his Tea Party associates. Our nation needs more selfless legislators like them.

Mark Caserta is a Cabell County resident and a regular contributor to The Herald-Dis­patch editorial page.

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