- Cruz: 2015 Congress' top priorities should be to create jobs, repeal Obamacare and secure the border.
- Cruz: Many Republican bills will get vetoed or filibustered, but that will help the GOP in 2016.
- Other priorities: Abolishing the IRS and crushing the Common Core education standards.
Don't say Sen. Ted Cruz doesn't have a plan.
The Texas Republican took it upon himself to lay out the vision of what he thinks a Republican-led Congress should do in 2015 if they retake the Senate after the midterms, outlining a 10-point agenda in a USA Today op-ed published Sunday.
With plans to abolish the IRS and repeal Obamacare, Cruz acknowledged that Republicans would likely face vetoes from President Barack Obama and filibusters from Senate Democrats. But the potential 2016 presidential candidate appeared to look further than next month's election, saying obstruction from Democrats would drive Republican success in 2016.
"We should lead boldly. No Washington games," Cruz said. "We will either pass a serious agenda to address the real priorities of the American people ... or the Democrats will filibuster or veto these bills. And, if they do so, we will have transparency and accountability for the very next election."
Cruz's Op-ed marks a shift in the 2014 elections, which Republicans have sought to define as a referendum on Obama. Now, Republicans are being pressed to say what taking back the Senate would be -- rather than focusing on what it wouldn't be -- and Cruz is offering that vision.
The junior senator said the top priority of a Republican Congress in 2015 would be to stimulate the economy and create jobs with a focus on American energy. Republicans would authorize the controversial Keystone pipeline and cut down on environmental regulations that hamper fracking, have cracked down on coal and stymied the growth of natural gas, Cruz said.
And Republican talk about repealing Obamacare is anything but hot air. Cruz, who is a tea party favorite, said his party would "pursue all means possible to repeal Obamacare" -- repealing the act "and then pass bill after bill to mitigate the harms of Obamacare."
Cruz conceded that Obama could veto "every one" of those bills, but said "each has powerful appeal with the electorate who are hurting under this law."
Cruz also pointed to other facets of the right's agenda: from repealing the Common Core education standards "so that local curriculum is not mandated by Washington bureaucrats" to securing the border and stopping "illegal amnesty."
"We should welcome and celebrate legal immigrants who follow the rules, and at the same time honor the will of the people and prevent any more illegal amnesty," Cruz said.
On the financial side, Cruz said Congress should pass a balanced budget amendment to eliminate the current and prevent future deficits. He also called for Republicans to abolish the IRS and establish a flat tax, instead of the progressive tax rate that fluctuates based on wealth.
In addition to auditing the Federal Reserve and stopping a "culture of corruption," -- in part by preventing members of Congress from becoming lobbyists and establishing term limits -- Cruz tied the last of his ten priorities to foreign policy.
A Republican Congress, he said, would "deal seriously with the twin threats of ISIL and a nuclear Iran."
"We must rebuild our military, protect our nation, and restore America's leadership in the world," he said.