Ted Cruz

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Ted Cruz
Ted Cruz, official portrait, 113th Congress.jpg
United States Senator
from Texas
Assumed office
January 3, 2013
Serving with John Cornyn
Preceded by Kay Bailey Hutchison
Solicitor General of Texas
In office
January 9, 2003 – May 12, 2008
Governor Rick Perry
Preceded by Julie Parsley
Succeeded by James C. Ho[1]
Personal details
Born Rafael Edward Cruz
(1970-12-22) December 22, 1970 (age 44)
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Heidi Nelson (m. 2001)
Children 2
Alma mater Princeton University
(A.B., 1992)
Harvard Law School
(J.D., 1995)
Religion Southern Baptist[2]
Website Senate website
Campaign website

Rafael Edward "Ted" Cruz[3] (born December 22, 1970) is the junior U.S. Senator from Texas. A Republican, Cruz was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2012 and is the first Hispanic American to serve as a U.S. senator representing Texas.[4][2][5] He is the chairman of the subcommittee on the Oversight, Agency Action, Federal Rights and Federal Courts, U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee.[6] He is also the chairman of the United States Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Space, Science and Competitiveness, U.S. Senate Commerce Committee. On March 23, 2015, Cruz announced during a rally at Liberty University he would run for the Republican Party nomination in the 2016 U.S. Presidential election.

Between 1999 and 2003, Cruz was the director of the Office of Policy Planning at the Federal Trade Commission, an associate deputy attorney general at the United States Department of Justice, and domestic policy advisor to President George W. Bush on the 2000 George W. Bush presidential campaign. He served as Solicitor General of Texas from 2003 to May 2008, after being appointed by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott.[7] He was the first Hispanic,[5][8] the youngest[5][9] and the longest-serving solicitor general in Texas history.[10] Cruz was also an adjunct professor of law at the University of Texas School of Law in Austin, from 2004 to 2009.[11][12] While there, he taught U.S. Supreme Court litigation.[11] Cruz is one of three Senators of Cuban descent.[13]

Cruz was the Republican nominee for the Senate seat vacated by fellow Republican Kay Bailey Hutchison.[14] On July 31, 2012, he defeated Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst in the Republican primary runoff, 57%–43%.[15] Cruz defeated former state Representative Paul Sadler in the general election on November 6, 2012. He won 56%–41% over Sadler.[15][16] Cruz openly identifies with the Tea Party movement and has been endorsed by the Republican Liberty Caucus.[17] On November 14, 2012, Cruz was appointed vice-chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.[18]

Early life and ancestry[edit]

Cruz was born on December 22, 1970,[7][16] in Calgary, Alberta, to parents Eleanor Elizabeth Darragh Wilson and Rafael Bienvenido Cruz.[19][20][21] At the time of his birth, Cruz' parents were working in the oil business as owners of a seismic-data processing firm for oil drilling.[20][20][22][23][24][25]

Cruz's father was born in Cuba, and left in 1957 to attend the University of Texas at Austin, becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen in 2005. [26][27] [20][28][29][30] His mother earned an undergraduate degree in mathematics from Rice University in the 1950s.[31]

On his father's side, Cruz had two older half-sisters, Miriam and Roxana Cruz.[32] On his mother's side Cruz had a half-brother, Michael Wilson (1960 - 1965), who died before Cruz was born.[32] Cruz learned of the deceased sibling from his mother during his teenage years.[32]

Cruz was a dual citizen at birth, (American and Canadian). In May of 2014, he officially renounced his Canadian citizenship.[33]


Cruz attended high school at Faith West Academy in Katy, Texas,[34] and later graduated from Second Baptist High School in Houston as valedictorian in 1988.[28][35][36] During high school, Cruz participated in a Houston-based group called the Free Market Education Foundation where he learned about free-market economic philosophers such as Milton Friedman, Friedrich Hayek, Frédéric Bastiat and Ludwig von Mises.[37] The program was run by Rolland Storey and Cruz entered the program at the age of 13.[25] At the same time, he changed his nickname from "Felito" to "Ted" after being teased about it by his peers.[38] Cruz was involved in theater during high school, though chose not to pursue an acting career. He would later say that he did not think he had the talent to succeed. Cruz later claimed to regret not serving in the military, saying he respected it "immensely."[39]

Cruz graduated cum laude from Princeton University with a Bachelor of Arts in Public Policy[40] from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs in 1992.[5][7] While at Princeton, he competed for the American Whig-Cliosophic Society's Debate Panel and won the top speaker award at both the 1992 U.S. National Debating Championship and the 1992 North American Debating Championship.[41] In 1992, he was named U.S. National Speaker of the Year, as well as Team of the Year, with his debate partner, David Panton.[41] Cruz and Panton represented Harvard Law School at the 1995 World Debating Championship, making it to the semi-finals, where they lost to a team from Australia.[42][43][44] Princeton's debate team later named their annual novice championship after Cruz.[44]

Cruz's senior thesis on the separation of powers, titled "Clipping the Wings of Angels," draws its inspiration from a passage attributed to President James Madison: "If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary." Cruz argued that the drafters of the Constitution intended to protect the rights of their constituents, and that the last two items in the Bill of Rights offer an explicit stop against an all-powerful state. Cruz wrote: "They simply do so from different directions. The Tenth stops new powers, and the Ninth fortifies all other rights, or non-powers."[31][45]

After graduating from Princeton, Cruz attended Harvard Law School, graduating magna cum laude in 1995 with a Juris Doctor degree.[7][46] While at Harvard Law, he was a primary editor of the Harvard Law Review, and executive editor of the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, and a founding editor of the Harvard Latino Law Review.[5] Referring to Cruz's time as a student at Harvard Law, Professor Alan Dershowitz said, "Cruz was off-the-charts brilliant."[47][48][49][50] At Harvard Law, Cruz was a John M. Olin Fellow in Law and Economics.[11]

Cruz currently serves on the Board of Advisors of the Texas Review of Law and Politics.[11][51]

Legal career[edit]


Ted Cruz speaking in Nashua, New Hampshire.

Cruz served as a law clerk to J. Michael Luttig of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in 1995[8][11] and William Rehnquist, Chief Justice of the United States in 1996.[7] Cruz was the first Hispanic to clerk for a Chief Justice of the United States.[52]

Private practice[edit]

After Cruz finished his clerkships, he took a position with Cooper, Carvin & Rosenthal, now known as Cooper & Kirk, LLC, from 1997 to 1998.[53] While with the firm, Cruz worked on matters relating to the National Rifle Association, and helped prepare testimony for the impeachment proceedings against President Clinton.[54] Cruz also served as private counsel for Congressman John Boehner during Boehner's lawsuit against Congressman Jim McDermott for releasing a tape recording of a Boehner telephone conversation.[55]

Bush Administration[edit]

Cruz joined the George W. Bush presidential campaign in 1999 as a domestic policy adviser, advising then-Governor George W. Bush on a wide range of policy and legal matters, including civil justice, criminal justice, constitutional law, immigration, and government reform.[53]

Cruz assisted in assembling the Bush legal team, devising strategy, and drafting pleadings for filing with the Supreme Court of Florida and U.S. Supreme Court, the specific case being Bush v. Gore, during the 2000 Florida presidential recounts, leading to two successful decisions for the Bush team.[11][56] Cruz recruited future Chief Justice John Roberts and noted attorney Mike Carvin to the Bush legal team.[54]

After President Bush took office, Cruz served as an associate deputy attorney general in the U.S. Justice Department[7][56] and as the director of policy planning at the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.[7][47][56]

Texas Solicitor General[edit]

Appointed to the office of Solicitor General of Texas by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott,[8][57] Cruz served in that position from 2003 to 2008.[11][37] The office had been established in 1999 to handle appeals involving the state, but Abbott hired Cruz with the idea that Cruz would take a "leadership role in the United States in articulating a vision of strict construction." As Solicitor General, Cruz argued before the Supreme Court nine times, winning five cases and losing four.[54]

Cruz has authored 70 United States Supreme Court briefs and presented 43 oral arguments, including nine before the United States Supreme Court.[8][47][58] Cruz's record of having argued before the Supreme Court nine times is more than any practicing lawyer in Texas or any current member of Congress.[59] Cruz has commented on his nine cases in front of the U.S. Supreme Court: "We ended up year after year arguing some of the biggest cases in the country. There was a degree of serendipity in that, but there was also a concerted effort to seek out and lead conservative fights."[59]

In 2003, while Cruz was Texas Solicitor General, the Texas Attorney General's office declined to defend Texas' sodomy law in Lawrence v. Texas, where the U.S. Supreme Court decided that state laws banning homosexual sex as illegal sodomy were unconstitutional.[60]

In the landmark case of District of Columbia v. Heller, Cruz drafted the amicus brief signed by the attorneys general of 31 states, which said that the D.C. handgun ban should be struck down as infringing upon the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.[58][61] Cruz also presented oral argument for the amici states in the companion case to Heller before the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.[58][62]

Cruz at the Values Voter Summit in Washington, DC., 2011

In addition to his success in Heller, Cruz successfully defended the constitutionality of the Ten Commandments monument on the Texas State Capitol grounds before the Fifth Circuit and the U.S. Supreme Court, winning 5–4 in Van Orden v. Perry.[11][47][58]

In 2004, Cruz was involved in the high-profile case, Elk Grove Unified School District v. Newdow,[11][47] in which he wrote a U.S. Supreme Court brief on behalf of all 50 states.[63] The Supreme Court upheld the position of Cruz’s brief.

Cruz served as lead counsel for the state and successfully defended the multiple litigation challenges to the 2003 Texas congressional redistricting plan in state and federal district courts and before the U.S. Supreme Court, which was decided 5–4 in his favor in League of United Latin American Citizens v. Perry.[11][64]

Cruz also successfully defended, in Medellin v. Texas, the State of Texas against an attempt to re-open the cases of 51 Mexican nationals, all of whom were convicted of murder in the United States and were on death row.[8][11][47][58] With the support of the George W. Bush Administration, the petitioners argued that the United States had violated the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations by failing to notify the convicted nationals of their opportunity to receive legal aid from the Mexican consulate.[54][65] They based their case on a decision of the International Court of Justice in the Avena case which ruled that by failing to allow access to the Mexican consulate, the US had breached its obligations under the Convention.[66] Texas won the case in a 6–3 decision, the Supreme Court holding that ICJ decisions were not binding in domestic law and that the President had no power to enforce them.[54][65]

Cruz has been named by American Lawyer magazine as one of the 50 Best Litigators under 45 in America,[57][67] by The National Law Journal as one of the 50 Most Influential Minority Lawyers in America,[68][69] and by Texas Lawyer as one of the 25 Greatest Texas Lawyers of the Past Quarter Century.[70][71]

Private practice[edit]

After leaving the Solicitor General position in 2008, Cruz worked in a private law firm in Houston, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, often representing corporate clients, until he was sworn in as U.S. Senator from Texas in 2013.[11][31][72] At Morgan Lewis, he led the firm’s U.S. Supreme Court and national appellate litigation practice.[72] In 2009 and 2010, he formed and then abandoned a bid for state attorney general when the incumbent Attorney General Greg Abbott, who hired Cruz as Solicitor General, decided to run for re-election.[28]

U.S. Senate[edit]

2012 election[edit]

Cruz speaking to the Values Voters Summit in October 2011

Cruz's victory in the Republican primary was described by the Washington Post as "the biggest upset of 2012 . . . a true grassroots victory against very long odds."[73] On January 19, 2011, after U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison said she would not seek reelection, Cruz announced his candidacy via a blogger conference call.[14] In the Republican senatorial primary, Cruz ran against sitting Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst. Cruz was endorsed first by former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin[74] and then by the Club for Growth, a fiscally conservative political action committee;[75] Erick Erickson, editor of prominent conservative blog RedState;[76] the FreedomWorks for America super PAC;[77] nationally syndicated radio host Mark Levin;[78] former Attorney General Edwin Meese;[56] Tea Party Express;[79] Young Conservatives of Texas;[80] and U.S. Senators Tom Coburn,[81] Jim DeMint,[82] Mike Lee,[83] Rand Paul[84] and Pat Toomey.[85] He was also endorsed by former Texas Congressman Ron Paul,[86] George P. Bush,[56] and former U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania Rick Santorum.[87]

Cruz won the runoff for the Republican nomination with a 14-point margin over Dewhurst.[88] Cruz defeated Dewhurst despite being outspent by Dewhurst who held a statewide elected office.[89] Dewhurst spent $19 million and Cruz only spent $7 million.[89] Dewhurst raised over $30 million and outspent Cruz at a ratio of nearly 3-to-1.[90]

In the November 6 general election, Cruz faced Democrat Paul Sadler, an attorney and a former state representative from Henderson, in east Texas. Cruz won with 4.5 million votes (56.4%) to Sadler's 3.2 million (40.6%). Two minor candidates garnered the remaining 3% of the vote.[15] According to a poll by Cruz's pollster Wilson Perkins Allen Opinion Research, Cruz received 40% of the Hispanic vote, vs. 60% for Sandler, outperforming Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney with the Hispanic vote by 6 points.[91][92]

After Time magazine reported on a potential violation of ethics rules by failing to publicly disclose his financial relationship with Caribbean Equity Partners Investment Holdings during the 2012 campaign, Cruz called his failure to disclose these connections an inadvertent omission.[93]


Cruz giving a speech to the Montgomery County Republican Party meeting held in Conroe, Texas, on August 19, 2013

Cruz has sponsored 25 bills of his own, including:[94]

  • S.177, a bill to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the health-care related provisions of the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010, introduced January 29, 2013
  • S.505, a bill to prohibit the use of drones to kill citizens of the United States within the United States, introduced March 7, 2013
  • S.729 and S. 730, bills to investigate and prosecute felons and fugitives who illegally purchase firearms, and to prevent criminals from obtaining firearms through straw purchases and trafficking, introduced March 15, 2013
  • S.1336, a bill to permit States to require proof of citizenship for registering to vote in federal elections, introduced July 17, 2013
  • S.2170, a bill to increase coal, natural gas, and crude oil exports, to approve the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline, to expand oil drilling offshore, onshore, in the National Petroleum Reserve–Alaska, and in Indian reservations, to give states the sole power of regulating hydraulic fracturing, to repeal the Renewable Fuel Standard, to prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from regulating greenhouse gases, to require the EPA to assess how new regulations will affect employment, and to earmark natural resource revenue to paying off the federal government's debt, introduced March 27, 2014
  • S.2415, a bill to amend the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 to eliminate all limits on direct campaign contributions to candidates for public office, introduced June 3, 2014

Senate bill 2195[edit]

Main article: Public Law 113-100

On April 1, 2014, Cruz introduced Senate bill 2195, a bill that would allow the President of the United States to deny visas to any ambassador to the United Nations who has been found to have been engaged in espionage activities or a terrorist activity against the United States or its allies and may pose a threat to U.S. national security interests.[95] The bill was written in response to Iran's choice of Hamid Aboutalebi as their ambassador.[96] Aboutalebi was involved in the Iran hostage crisis, in which of a number of American diplomats from the US embassy in Tehran were held captive in 1979.[96][97][98]

Under the headline "A bipartisan message to Iran", Cruz thanked President Barack Obama for signing S 2195 into law. The letter, published in the magazine Politico on April 18, 2014, starts with "Thanks to President Obama for joining a unanimous Congress and signing S 2195 into law". Cruz also thanked senators from both political parties for "swiftly passing this legislation and sending it to the White House."[99][100][101]

Committee assignments[edit]

According to transcripts as reported by Politico, in his first two years in the Senate, Cruz attended 17 of 50 public Armed Services Committee hearings, 3 of 25 Commerce Committee hearings, 4 of the 12 Judiciary Committee hearings, and missed 21 of 135 roll call votes during the first three months of 2015.[102]

Comments on President Obama[edit]

Cruz is a frequent critic of President Barack Obama in harsh terms, calling him "the world's most powerful communist" at the 2015 Values Voter Summit[103] an "an unmitigated socialist" and "profoundly dangerous" at the First-in-the-Nation Republican Leadership Summit in Nashua, New Hampshire.[104] Cruz also made comments blaming Obama for the 2015 shooting death of a sheriff's deputy in Harris County, Texas.[105][106]

In a November 2014 Senate speech, Cruz accused the president of being "openly desirous to destroy the Constitution and this Republic."[107] In the same speech, Cruz invoked the speeches of the ancient Roman senator Cicero against Catiline to denounce Obama's planned executive actions on immigration reform.[107] Classics professor Jesse Weiner, writing in The Atlantic, said that Cruz's analogy was "deeply disquieting" because "in casting Obama in the role of Catiline, Cruz unsubtly suggests that the sitting president was not lawfully elected and is the perpetrator of a violent insurrection to overthrow the government...In effect, he accuses the president of high treason. Regardless of one’s views on immigration reform and the Obama administration at large, this is dangerous rhetoric."[107]

Cruz has repeatedly claimed that the 2015 international nuclear agreement with Iran "will make the Obama administration the world's leading financier of radical Islamic terrorism."[108] In response, Obama called Cruz's statements an example of "outrageous attacks" from Republican critics that crossed the line of responsible discourse: "We've had a sitting senator, who also happens to be running for president, suggest that I'm the leading state sponsor of terrorism. Maybe this is just an effort to push Mr. Trump out of the headlines, but it's not the kind of leadership that is needed for America right now."[108] Former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney also criticized Cruz for his remarks, writing that although he, too, was opposed to the Iran agreement, Cruz's statement connecting Obama to terrorism was "way over the line" and "hurts the cause."[109][110]

Relationships with fellow Republicans[edit]

Cruz has frequently used harsh rhetoric against fellow Republicans politicians, and his relationships with various Republican members of Congress have been strained.[107][111] In 2013, Cruz referred to Republicans who he thought were believed to be insufficiently resistant to the proposals of President Obama as a "surrender caucus."[107] Cruz also mocked fellow Republicans as "squishes" on gun-control issues during a tea party rally.[107] Cruz's leading role in causing the 2013 government shutdown in particular attracted criticism from a number of Republican colleagues.[111] Republican Senator John McCain is reported to particularly dislike Cruz; in a Senate floor speech in 2013, McCain "resoundingly" denounced Cruz's reference to Nazis when discussing the Affordable Care Act.[111] In March 2013, McCain also called Cruz and others "wacko birds on right" whose beliefs are not "are reflective of the views of the majority of Republicans."[111] In a heated Senate floor speech in July 2015, Cruz accused Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of telling "a flat-out lie" over his intentions to reauthorize of the Export-Import Bank of the United States, which Cruz opposes.[112] Cruz's "incendiary outburst" was "unusual in the cordial atmosphere of the Senate."[112][113] Cruz also assailed the "Republican majority in both houses of Congresses" for what Cruz termed an insufficiently conservative record.[113] Cruz's controversial speech was condemned by various senior Republican senators, with Senator Orrin Hatch delivering"a lengthy floor speech reprimanding Cruz" and McCain saying that the speech was "outside the realm of Senate behavior" and "a very wrong thing to do."[114]

Among the most vocal Cruz critics among Republicans is Representative Peter King of New York, who in 2013 said that Cruz has "tapped into a dark strain in the American political psyche" and was engaged in "governmental terrorism" by threatening to shut down the government unless the ACA was repealed.[111][115] In March 2015, King called Cruz a "carnival barker" who was "a guy with a big mouth and no results."[115] Cruz has also clashed with House Speaker John Boehner, who called Cruz a "jackass" at a Colorado fundraiser, prompting a response from Cruz.[106][116] When Boehner announced in September 2015 that he step down and resign from the House, Cruz "gloated" at the news and accused the speaker of making "a secret and insidious deal with Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi to avert another government shutdown when the current annual budget expires."[103]

Among Cruz's few close allies in the Senate is Mike Lee of Utah.[117][118] Cruz has expressed pride in his reputation for having few allies, saying in June 2015 that he has been vilified for fighting "the Washington cartel."[119]

Political positions[edit]

Economic policy views[edit]

Since being elected, Cruz has criticized the economic policies of the Obama administration.[120] Chiding fellow Republicans over their 2012 electoral losses, he stated that "Republicans are and should be the party of the 47 percent"[121] and has also noted that the words "growth and opportunity" ought to be tattooed on every Republican's hand.[122]

In February 2014, Cruz opposed an unconditional increase in the debt limit.[123] He said that Republican politicians feared the truth and "they wanted to be able to tell what they view as their foolish, gullible constituents back home they didn't do it."[124]


Cruz has been described by the Cato Institute's Center for Trade Policy Studies has described Cruz as a "free trader"[125] and as a "free-trade advocate" by the Wall Street Journal.[126] Cruz initially was a supporter of trade promotion ("fast track") authority to speed up approval of the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement, writing a Wall Street Journal op-ed in support of the measure in April 2015 and voting in favor of it in the Senate the following month.[127] However, on the eve of a crucial Senate vote on fast track in June 2015, Cruz flipped positions and abandoned his previous support.[126][127]

Cruz is an opponent of the Export-Import Bank of the United States, an agency that "provides relatively low-cost financing to foreign buyers of American products and services."[128]


In 2013, Cruz proposed the abolition of the IRS and the implementation of a flat tax "where the average American can fill out taxes on a postcard."[129] The Dallas Morning News reported that Cruz's proposal "was a bold prescription that meshes with Cruz's persona as a brash change agent. It drew cheers from a well-heeled Manhattan crowd. But as policy from a U.S. senator, it strikes liberal critics as demagoguery, and tax experts as half-baked."[130]

During his 2015 presidential campaign, Cruz reiterated his call to "abolish the IRS and end its abuse of power and violation of Americans' constitutional rights."[128] Cruz also proposed a flat tax at an unspecified level.[131] as well as the elimination of the estate tax.[131]

Cruz opposes the Marketplace Fairness Act, saying that it imposes a burdensome tax that will hurt competition by creating additional costs for internet-based businesses.[132]

In April 2015, as a Republican presidential candidate, Cruz signed Grover Norquist's anti-tax pledge.[133]

Minimum wage[edit]

Cruz is "adamantly opposed to a higher minimum wage."[128]

In January 2015, Cruz opposed President Obama's plan to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour, stating that he believes it would cause large-scale job loss.[134] When discussing whether or not to have a minimum wage in general, Cruz stated "I think the minimum wage consistently hurts the most vulnerable."[128][134]

Domestic and social policy[edit]


Cruz is "strongly anti-abortion" and "would allow the procedure only when a pregnancy endangers the mother's life."[135][136]

Capital punishment[edit]

Cruz favors the death penalty. In his 2012 Senate campaign, Cruz frequently mentioned his role as counsel for the State of Texas in Medellín v. Texas, a 2008 case in which the U.S. Supreme Court found that Texas has the legal right to ignore an order from the International Court of Justice directing the U.S. to review the convictions and sentences of dozens of Mexican nationals on death row.[137] Cruz has referred to Medellín as the most important case of his tenure as Texas solicitor general.[137]

In September 2015, after Pope Francis called for the global abolition of capital punishment in a speech before a joint session of Congress during a visit to the United States, Cruz said that he disagreed with the pope and Catholic teachings against the death penalty, telling Politico, "I believe the death penalty is a recognition of the preciousness of human life."[138]

Civil liberties and electronic surveillance[edit]

In 2015, Cruz voted in favor of the USA Freedom Act, which reauthorized the USA Patriot Act but reformed some of its provisions.[139][140] Cruz's stance was in contrast with the stances of his rivals for the Republican presidential nomination, include Rand Paul (who voted against the act because it did not go far enough in curtailing NSA spying) and Marco Rubio (who voted against the Freedom Act because he favored reauthorization of the Patriot Act without any reform).[139][140]

In 2014, Cruz expressed agreement with Democrats such as Senator Patrick Leahy that "the sweep of the surveillance has been far too broad with respect to law-abiding citizens."[141] Cruz said Americans want to see "far greater scrutiny on bad guys, people that we have reason to suspect may be planning a terrorist attack" and "far more protection for law-abiding citizens."[141]

In 2013, following the revelations of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, Cruz said: "If it is the case that the federal government is seizing millions of personal records about law-abiding citizens, and if it is the case that there are minimal restrictions on accessing or reviewing those records, then I think Mr. Snowden has done a considerable public service by bringing it to light. If Mr. Snowden has violated the laws of this country, there are consequences to violating laws and that is something he has publicly stated he understands and I think the law needs to be enforced."[142]


Cruz is a proponent of school choice[143] and opposes the Common Core State Standards Initiative.[144]

During his 2012 campaign for the Senate, Cruz called for the abolition of the United States Department of Education.[145] Cruz has not indicated what "steps he might take to lower the cost of college, or make student debt more manageable."[145]

In March 2013, Cruz proposed an amendment to repeal the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010, which "shifted loans from private banks to federal direct lending, lowered monthly payments for income-based repayment plans, and greatly expanded Pell Grants."[146] In 2014, Cruz voted to block the Student Emergency Loan Refinancing Act (a bill sponsored by Senator Elizabeth Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts) from a Senate floor vote.[146]

Gun rights[edit]

Cruz is a gun-rights supporter.[147] On March 25, 2013, an announcement was made by Cruz and U.S. Senators Rand Paul and Mike Lee threatening to filibuster any legislation that would entail gun control, such as the Manchin-Toomey Amendment, which would require additional background checks on sales at gun shows.[148] On April 17, 2013, Cruz voted against the Manchin-Toomey Amendment.[149] Republicans successfully filibustered the amendment by a vote of 54–46, as 60 votes were needed for cloture.[150]

In April 2015, Cruz stated "what I have been pressing is the Armed Services Committee" to hold hearings on whether service members should be allowed to carry concealed firearms on military bases.[151] He believes that service members should be better equipped to protect themselves from incidents like the Navy Yard and Fort Hood mass shootings.[151] He further added, "I think it's very important to have a public discussion about why we're denying our soldiers the ability to exercise their Second Amendment rights".[151]

Health care[edit]

Cruz is a strong critic of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (the ACA or "Obamacare"). He has sponsored legislation that would repeal the health care reform law and its amendments in the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010.

After the launch of the HealthCare.gov website, with which there were significant implementation problems,[152] Cruz stated, "Obamacare is a disaster. You have the well-publicized problems with the website. It just isn't working."[152] He called for Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to resign.[152]

In 2014, some claim Cruz unintentionally gave majority leader Harry Reid the procedural opening he needed to allow a Senate vote to confirm Vivek Murthy, who had raised concerns about the health effects of gun ownership, to be United States Surgeon General,[153] though it has been reported Reid intended to push through the remaining confirmations of President Obama's nominees regardless.[154]

In the summer of 2013, Cruz started a "nationwide tour" sponsored by the Heritage Foundation to promote a congressional effort to defund the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, arguing that Republicans should unite in upcoming Continuing Resolution negotiations to defund Obamacare and with regard to a potential government shutdown Cruz downplayed worries of the political risk to Republicans by citing the results of the 1996 midterm elections.[155][156]

On September 24, 2013, Cruz began a speech on the floor of the Senate regarding the Affordable Care Act relative to a continuing resolution designed to fund the government and avert a government shutdown.[157][158] Cruz promised to keep speaking until he was "no longer able to stand".[159] Cruz yielded the floor at noon the following day for the start of the proceeding legislative session after twenty-one hours nineteen minutes.[160] His speech was the fourth-longest in United States Senate history.[161] Following Cruz's speech, the Senate voted 100–0 regarding a "procedural hurdle toward passing a stopgap funding bill to avert a government shutdown".[162] Cruz was joined by 18 Republican senators in his effort to prevent stripping out a clause that would have defunded the Affordable Care Act by voting against the cloture motion, leaving the effort 21 votes short of the required number to deny cloture.[163]

Cruz is cited in the press as having been a major force behind the U.S. government shutdown in 2013.[164][165] Cruz delivered a message on October 11, 2013 to fellow Republicans against accepting Obamacare and, describing it as a "train wreck", claimed the American people remain "energized" around the goal of gutting the law.[166] Cruz stated Obamacare is causing "enormous harm" to the economy.[166] Republican strategist Mike Murphy stated: "Cruz is trying to start a wave of Salem witch trials in the G.O.P. on the shutdown and Obamacare, and that fear is impacting some people’s calculations on 2016."[165] Cruz said that he "didn't threaten to shut down the government" and blamed the shutdown on President Barack Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid.[167]

The Houston Chronicle, which had endorsed Cruz in the general election, regretted that he had not lived up to the standard set by the previous U.S. Senator from Texas, Kay Bailey Hutchison.[168][169] After a deal was made to end the shutdown and extend the debt-ceiling deadline, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell called Cruz's actions "not a smart play" and a "tactical error",[170] and Cruz stated: "I would do anything, and I will continue to do anything I can, to stop the train wreck that is Obamacare. The test that matters... is are we doing anything for all the people that are getting hurt from Obamacare?"[171] In March 2015, Cruz announced his wife would be taking an unpaid leave of absence and would no longer have access to health insurance through her employer, so they purchased private insurance rather than enter the health care exchange.[172]


Cruz has adopted a "hard-line stance" on immigration issues during the 2014 border crisis.[173] Cruz is an opponent of comprehensive immigration reform.[54][173] He has said that he disagreed with the amnesty for illegal immigration that occurred in 1986 under Ronald Reagan.[174] Cruz opposes Obama administration's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which protects undocumented youth who came to the United States as children ("DREAMers") from deportation. Cruz has demanded an "end to DACA as a prerequisite for even the most minor immigration legislation."[173][175] In September 2014, referring to the DACA, Cruz said "I think we should use any and all means necessary to prevent the president from illegally granting amnesty," raising speculation that he might attempt to force a government shutdown over the issue.[175]

During the 2012 Republican primary race for U.S. Senate in Texas, Cruz stated that he favored building a wall along the entire U.S.-Mexico border.[176] Cruz also said that he supports a requirement that businesses use E-Verify, which is an electronic program to verify whether someone is allowed to legally work in the United States.[176]

In 2013, Cruz offered an amendment to the Senate comprehensive immigration bill seeking an immediate 500% increase (from 65,000 to 325,000 annually) in skilled foreign workers entering the United States using H-1B visas.[177] Cruz's amendment was defeated in the Senate Judiciary Committee (which approved a smaller increase instead), and the underlying bill was never acted upon by the House.[177]

LGBT rights[edit]

Cruz opposes both same-sex marriage and civil unions.[178] He believes that marriage should be legally defined as only "between one man and one woman,"[179] but believes that the legality of same-sex marriage should be left to each state to decide.[180] On February 10, 2015, Cruz re-introduced the State Marriage Defense Act.[181] Cruz opposes participation in gay pride marches, criticizing Dallas' Republican mayor Tom Leppert, stating "When a mayor of a city chooses twice to march in a parade celebrating gay pride that's a statement and it's not a statement I agree with."[182] He voted against reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act, which included provisions to extend protection to lesbians, gays, immigrants, and Native Americans.[182] In a speech in April 2015 in Waukee, Iowa, Cruz said that "[t]here is a liberal fascism that is dedicated to going after believing Christians who follow the biblical teaching on marriage."[183]

In 2015, following the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, which recognized that the constitutional right to marriage extended to same-sex couples, Cruz urged states to ignore the ruling, saying that states who are not parties to a suit are not legally obligated to follow the decision.[184] Legal scholars said that thus statement is correct in a technical sense, but not meaningful, since lower courts are bound by the Supreme Court's constitutional rulings and non-compliance with the decision "amounts at most to a delaying tactic."[185] Stephen Vladeck, law professor at American University, called Cruz's statement "literally true, but deeply misleading."[185]

On Kim Davis, a county clerk in Kentucky who was jailed for contempt of court after refusing to comply with a federal court order directing her to issue marriage licenses to all those legally qualified, Cruz stated: "Today, judicial lawlessness crossed into judicial tyranny. Today, for the first time ever, the government arrested a Christian woman for living according to her faith. ... I stand with Kim Davis. Unequivocally."[186] Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank called this statement "downright alarming" and criticized Cruz for "seeking the nation's highest office while encouraging people to ignore its laws."[186]


Cruz opposes the legalization of marijuana, but believes it should be decided at the state level.[187]

Net neutrality[edit]

Cruz opposes net neutrality arguing that the Internet economy has flourished in the United States simply because it has remained largely free from government regulation.[188] He believes regulating the Internet will stifle online innovation and create monopolies.[189] He has expressed support for stripping the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) of its power under Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996,[188] and opposes reclassifying internet service providers as common carriers under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934.[190]

Environmental policy views[edit]

Climate change, energy policy, and EPA[edit]

Cruz has "outright denied" the scientific consensus on climate change.[191][192] In January 2015, Cruz voted for a Senate amendment stating that climate change is real, but not man-made; rejecting an amendment stating that human activity significantly contributes to climate change; Cruz voted against an amendment stated that climate change was real and that humans were significantly contributing to it.[193] In a March 2015 interview with the Texas Tribune, Cruz called environmental advocates concerned "global warming alarmists" and said that they are "the equivalent of the flat-earthers."[194] Cruz's views on climate change attracted criticism from Democratic Governor Jerry Brown of California, who said in March 2015 that "That man betokens such a level of ignorance and a direct falsification of the existing scientific data. It's shocking, and I think that man has rendered himself absolutely unfit to be running for office."[195]

Cruz has claimed that "satellite data demonstrate that there has been no significant warming whatsoever for 17 years."[196][197] The Annenberg Public Policy Center's FactCheck.org stated that this claim was "misleading" and that "Cruz cherry-picks data to arrive at a spurious conclusion."[198] The Washington Post fact-checker said that this statement was "not correct" and a "highly misleading statement to the average viewer or reader."[199]

As chairman of the United States Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Space, Science and Competitiveness, Cruz has criticized NASA for conducting what he considers to be too much research on climate change and Earth science, stating that research into these fields are not part of the "core function of NASA."[200][201] FactCheck.org found that Cruz's comments "made some misleading claims regarding the agency’s budgets and the science that it conducts" and noted that research into earth and atmospheric sciences has been fundamental to NASA's mission since the agency's inception."[200]

Cruz received more than US$1 million in campaign donations from the oil and gas industry since 2011.[202] Cruz is a critic of the EPA, calling it "unbelievably abusive" and "populated by zealots,"[203] and has accused the Obama administration of waging a "war on coal."[203][204] Cruz opposes EPA's Clean Power Plan, which aims to cut carbon emissions from power plants; Cruz accused President Obama of engaging in a "lawless and radical attempt to destabilize the nation's energy system" and called the plan "flatly unconstitutional."[205] Cruz, who says that he is an advocate for "volunteer conservation," and also criticized efforts by the EPA to expand regulatory oversight on water, which Cruz characterized an attempt "to turn irrigation ditches into lakes and rivers and oceans."[206]

Cruz is a supporter of TransCanada's controversial Keystone XL Pipeline,[204] and along with every other Republican senator was a cosponsor of legislation in support of the pipeline.[207] Like most Republican senators, Cruz supports opening areas for offshore drilling.[204] Cruz favors "expanding energy development on federal land" and has "pushed for preventing federal restrictions on fracking."[204] In July 2015, Cruz's super PAC, "Keep the Promise," disclosed that the billionaire brothers Dan and Farris Wilks, who earned a fortune in the West Texas fracking boom, contributed a record-setting $15 million to the super PAC.[208]

Cruz has offered amendments seeking to lift ban on U.S. crude oil exports and to expedite approval of export permits for liquid natural gas, issues which divide Republicans."[204][209]


Cruz voted against the Water Resources Development Act of 2013, that would have created the National Endowment for the Oceans and authorize more than $26 billion in projects to be built by the Army Corps of Engineers, at least $16 billion of which would have come from federal taxpayers.[210][211] Cruz voted against the bill because it neglected "to reduce a substantial backlog of projects, to the detriment of projects with national implications, such as the Sabine-Neches Waterway".[212] Cruz stated that the Corps' responsibilities were expanded without providing adequate measures for state participation.[212] Proponents of the bill argued that it would provide steady funding to support research and restoration projects, funded primarily by dedicating 12.5% of revenues from offshore energy development, including oil, gas, and renewable energy, through offshore lease sales and production based royalty payments, distributed through a competitive grant program.[213]

Foreign policy views[edit]

Cruz speaking at the May 2015 Citizens United Freedom Summit

On foreign policy, Cruz has said that he is "somewhere in between" Rand Paul's "basically ... isolationist" position and John McCain's active interventionism.[214]


Cruz has been an adamant opponent of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, an 2015 international nuclear agreement with Iran negotiated by the U.S. and other world powers, calling it "catastrophic" and "disastrous."[215][216] Cruz had previously attempted, without success, to amend the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015 to require affirmative congressional approval of any agreement with Iran before sanctions relief can occur.[217] Cruz asserted in May 2015 that "this deal makes war a certainty" and said that negotiations with Iran were impossible.[216] The same month, Cruz stated on the Senate floor that the agreement with Iran would lead to the deaths of "millions of Americans."[216] In September 2015, Cruz claimed that the Iran agreement "trusts the Iranians to inspect themselves" and that the agreement would "facilitate and accelerate" Iran acquiring a nuclear weapon; Politifact rated both statements "false."[218][219] Also in September 2015, Cruz—along with Donald Trump and Sarah Palin—headlined an anti-Iran rally on the West Lawn of the Capitol sponsored by the Tea Party Patriots against the agreement.[215][220]


Cruz is a critic of the rapprochement between Cuba and the United States, saying on Fox News in December 2014 that the thaw in relations was a "manifestation of the failures of the Obama-Clinton-Kerry foreign policy" that "will be remembered as a tragic mistake."[221] In July 2015, Cruz said that President Obama's decision to reestablish diplomatic relations with Cuba was a "slap in the face to Israel" because the U.S. embassy to Israel is in Tel Aviv rather than Jerusalem, where Cruz favors relocating the U.S. embassy.[222][223]

Agenda 21[edit]

In 2012, Cruz "waded into a big conspiracy theory" in a blog post on his website in which he warned against the United Nations Agenda 21, which he claimed "attempts to abolish" things like "golf courses, grazing pastures, and paved roads."[224] Cruz claimed that George Soros was "the originator of this grand scheme" and wrote that "in the U.S. Senate, I intend to continue leading the fight, to stop Agenda 21 and any other globalist plan that tries to subvert the U.S. Constitution."[224]


In 2004, Cruz accused Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry of being "against defending American values, against standing up to our enemies, and, in effect, for appeasing totalitarian despots."[225]

Cruz helped defeat efforts to ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, arguing that the treaty infringed on U.S. sovereignty.[54]

In 2013, Cruz stated that America had no "dog in the fight" during the Syrian Civil War and stated that America's armed forces should not serve as "al-Qaeda's air force".[226] In 2014, Cruz criticized the Obama administration: "The president's foreign policy team utterly missed the threat of ISIS, indeed, was working to arm Syrian rebels that were fighting side by side with ISIS", calling ISIS "the face of evil".[227] Cruz has called for bombing ISIS, but is doubtful that the United States "can tell the good guys from the bad guys" in a plan to arm "moderate" rebels, and the plan to defeat ISIS should not be "laden with impractical contingencies, such as resolving the Syrian civil war."[228]

In 2014, Cruz spoke at an event held by the group In Defense of Christians (IDC). He was booed by the group after making statements considered pro-Israel. Cruz left the stage after telling the audience, "Those who hate Israel hate America. Those who hate Jews hate Christians. If those in this room will not recognize that, then my heart weeps. If you hate the Jewish people you are not reflecting the teachings of Christ. And the very same people who persecute and murder Christians right now, who crucify Christians, who behead children, are the very same people who target Jews for their faith, for the same reason".[229] Some commentators believe there is a divide in the conservative movement between those who sided with Cruz and Israel, and those who sided with Middle Eastern Christians and some arguing that Cruz's comments were out-of-bounds.[230] Others who criticized Cruz included Mollie Hemingway and Ross Douthat.[231] Cruz apologized for questioning the motives of his critics and said that all should be united in speaking out against persecution of religious minorities.[232]

Presidential campaign[edit]

Senator Cruz speaking at the 2014 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland.

Commentators have expressed their opinion that Cruz would run for President in 2016.[233][234][235] On March 14, 2013, Cruz gave the keynote speech at the 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington DC.[236] He came in tied for 7th place in the 2013 CPAC straw poll on March 16, winning 4% of the votes cast.[237] In October 2013, Cruz won the Values Voter Summit Presidential straw poll with 42% of the vote.[238] Cruz came in first place in the two most recent Presidential straw polls conducted in 2014 with 30.33% of the vote at the Republican Leadership Conference[239] and 43% of the vote at the Republican Party of Texas state convention.[240]

Cruz did speaking events in the summer of 2013 across Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, early primary states, leading to speculation that he was laying the groundwork for a run for President in 2016.[241] Legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin describes Cruz as the first potential Presidential candidate to emphasize originalism as a major national issue.[54]

Since Cruz was born in Canada, commentators for the Austin American-Statesman[242] and the Los Angeles Times,[243] have speculated about Cruz's legal status as a natural-born citizen. Because he was a U.S. citizen at birth (his mother was a U.S. citizen who lived in the U.S. for more than 10 years as outlined by the Nationality Act of 1940), most commentators believe Cruz is eligible to serve as President of the United States.[19][244][245][246] Despite many legal experts opinions to the contrary, conservative legal activist Larry Klayman, Orly Taitz, one of the leading proponents of the "birther" movement during Obama's presidency, Joseph Farah of World Net Daily, and Donald Trump, have stated that Cruz is not a natural born citizen and thus not eligible to run for president.[247] Two lawyers, Neal Katyal and Paul Clement who both represented presidents from both parties at the Supreme Court recently wrote in the Harvard Law Review that Cruz meets the constitutional standard to run.[248][249]

On April 12, 2014, Cruz spoke at the Freedom Summit, an event organized by Americans for Prosperity, and Citizens United.[250] The event was attended by several potential presidential candidates.[251] In his speech, Cruz mentioned that Latinos, young people and single mothers, are the people most affected by the recession, and that the Republican Party should make outreach efforts to these constituents. He also said that the words "growth and opportunity" should be tattooed on the hands of every Republican politician.[250]

On March 23, 2015, Cruz announced on his Twitter page: "I'm running for President and I hope to earn your support!"[252] He was the first announced major Republican presidential candidate for the 2016 campaign.[253][254]

HarperCollins published Cruz's book A Time for Truth: Reigniting the Promise of America on June 30, 2015.[255] The book reached the bestseller list of several organizations in its first week of release.[256][257]

Personal life[edit]

Cruz with his wife Heidi at a rally in Houston, March 2015

Cruz married Heidi Nelson in 2001.[258] The couple has two daughters:[259] Caroline (born 2008) and Catherine (born 2011). Cruz met his wife while working on the George W. Bush presidential campaign of 2000. She is currently taking leave from her position as head of the Southwest Region in the Investment Management Division of Goldman, Sachs & Co. and previously worked in the White House for Condoleezza Rice and in New York as an investment banker.[260]

Cruz has said, "I'm Cuban, Irish, and Italian, and yet somehow I ended up Southern Baptist."[2]

When he was a child, Cruz's mother told him that she would have to make an affirmative act to claim Canadian citizenship for him, so his family assumed that he did not hold Canadian citizenship.[261] In August 2013, after the Dallas Morning News pointed out that Cruz had dual Canadian-American citizenship,[246] he applied to formally renounce his Canadian citizenship and ceased being a citizen of Canada on May 14, 2014.[261][262]


Rick Manning of Americans for Limited Government in The Hill, on December 27, 2013, named Cruz "2013 Person of the Year."[263] Manning stated that "of course, Cruz made his biggest mark when he and fellow freshman Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) led a last-ditch national grassroots effort to defund ObamaCare before the law went into effect fully. Imagine how many Senate Democrats wish right now that they had heeded Cruz's entreaties and agreed to delaying or defunding it for one year. Now, they are stuck with the law and all its consequences."[263]

Cruz was also named "2013 Man of the Year" by TheBlaze,[264] FrontPage Magazine[265] and The American Spectator,[266] "2013 Conservative of the Year" by Townhall.com,[267] "2013 Statesman of the Year" by the Republican Party of Sarasota County, Florida[268][269] and was a finalist in both "2013 Texan of the Year" by The Dallas Morning News[270] and a "2013 Person of the Year" finalist by Time.[271]

Electoral history[edit]

2012 Republican primary
Republican primary results, May 29, 2012[15]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican David Dewhurst 624,170 44.6
Republican Ted Cruz 479,079 34.2
Republican Tom Leppert 186,675 13.3
Republican Craig James 50,211 3.6
Republican Glenn Addison 22,888 1.6
Republican Lela Pittenger 18,028 1.3
Republican Ben Gambini 7,193 0.5
Republican Curt Cleaver 6,649 0.5
Republican Joe Argis 4,558 0.3
Total votes 1,399,451 100
2012 Republican primary runoff
Republican runoff results, July 31, 2012[15]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Ted Cruz 631,316 56.8
Republican David Dewhurst 480,165 43.2
Total votes 1,111,481 100
2012 General Election
General Election, November 6, 2012[15]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Ted Cruz 4,469,843 56.45
Democratic Paul Sadler 3,194,927 40.62
Libertarian John Jay Myers 162,354 2.06
Green David Collins 67,404 0.85
Total votes 7,864,822 100

See also[edit]


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External links[edit]

Party political offices
Preceded by
Kay Bailey Hutchison
Republican nominee for U.S. Senator from Texas
(Class 1)

Most recent
United States Senate
Preceded by
Kay Bailey Hutchison
U.S. Senator (Class 1) from Texas
Served alongside: John Cornyn
United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Tim Kaine
United States Senators by seniority
Succeeded by
Elizabeth Warren