OP-ED: 2020 highlighted the resilience of Texas and the vigor of the American spirit
HOUSTON, Texas – In a year marked by unique challenges, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) proudly fought for more economic opportunity for millions of Texans, security for America and her allies, and freedom for all Americans to live, work, and worship as they choose.
Reflecting on the past year, Sen. Cruz said:
“Texans are strong and resilient and the American spirit has always been marked by courage and generosity. That spirit was on full display throughout this year as we dealt with the massive economic and public health crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic. We dealt with enflamed racial division and a polarized political environment.
“Despite all of these difficulties, Texans and Americans alike rose to the challenge to help our neighbors and those in need by supporting our brave health care workers, first responders, grocery store clerks, and other critical workers on the front lines of this crisis, truly making a difference in our communities. People across this great nation exercised their fundamental rights to further the promises this nation was founded upon – freedom and equality. I am confident that we will come out of these troubled times stronger, more united, and renewed in pursuit of freedom and opportunity for every American.
“As we look ahead to 2021, I am deeply honored to continue representing the great state of Texas, and I will continue fighting to reopen our economy and to get millions of Americans safely back to work, back to school, to strengthen America’s national security, and to protect the religious liberty and the constitutional rights of each and every American.”
Sen. Cruz’s 2020 Highlights:
Combatting the Coronavirus Pandemic
- SIGNED INTO LAW: Helped secure passage of three coronavirus emergency response packagesto address the public health crisis and deliver real relief for the American people.
- Launched the #CombatCOVID19Challenge, a social media challenge to encourage Americans to continue supporting their communities as we all work to combat this pandemic. Sen. Cruz kicked offthe challenge by delivering food to the Houston Police Officers’ Union.
- Introduced the Reinvigorating the Economy, Creating Opportunity for every Vocation, Employer, Retiree & Youthor RECOVERY Act, a comprehensive legislative package designed to help small businesses re-hire their employees and create jobs, help kids get back to school safely, allow Americans to catch-up on their retirement savings, and help find cures for COVID-19 while increasing testing.
- Introduced the Creating Capacity for Communities in Need Act, legislation to increase healthcare capacity and to speed up FDA approval for certain vaccines and therapeutics.
- PASSED THE U.S. SENATE: Led the fight to pass legislationto enhance partnerships between companies in the United States and Israel to develop innovative medical projects aimed at detecting, treating, and curing COVID-19.
- Introduced the Equal Access to Care Act and the Right to Test Act, legislation to expand healthcare access and make testing more available.
- Introduced the Bring Entrepreneurial Advancements to Consumers Here In North America or BEAT CHINA Actto incentivize pharmaceutical, medical device, and supply manufacturers to relocate to the United States.
- Introduced the Ending Chinese Medical Censorship and Cover Ups Act, legislation to sanction Chinese officials involved in the ongoing suppression of medical experts, journalists, and political dissidents, amid Chinese censorship of its citizens that helped fuel the coronavirus pandemic.
- Introduced the Coronavirus Emergency Education Grants Act, legislation designed to empower all families with the resources needed to provide for their children’s public, private, or homeschool education during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Introduced the COVID-19 Vaccine Protection Actto prevent the Communist Chinese Party (CCP) from stealing or sabotaging American COVID-19 vaccine research.
- Introduced the Addressing Missed-savings Opportunities for Retirement due to an Epidemic or AMORE Actto allow individuals facing financial challenges and who are unable to make contributions to their tax-advantaged retirement accounts in 2020 to make “catch-up” contributions to these accounts in the coming years.
Delivering for Texas
- INFLUENCED THE ADMINISTRATION: Protected small and independent refiners facing bankruptcy because of the pandemic by working withthe administration to make sure these energy producers had access to critical capital. Sen. Cruz also worked to ensure that banks were not discriminating against energy producers so that they could keep their wells producing, their doors open and their employees on the payroll.
- INFLUENCED THE ADMINISTRATION: Successfully pushedfor the Federal Reserve to establish a new lending facility to provide immediate emergency liquidity for oil and gas businesses, a request they granted by altering their Main Street Lending Program to allow energy companies to qualify for much-needed relief.
- INFLUENCED THE ADMINISTRATION: Led the fight in the Senate to help secure an agreementfor Saudi Arabia and Russia to significantly cut oil production amid this emergency. These efforts held Saudi Arabia and Russia accountablefor engaging in predatory oil pricing during the pandemic, which greatly impacted Texas energy producers.
- SIGNED INTO LAW: Worked to secure passage for the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA)which was signed by President Trump, a decisive victory forfarmers, ranchers, businesses, and manufacturers to ensure greater economic opportunities for all Americans. This trade agreement puts American jobs first, including the 2.2 million jobs in Texas directly dependent on international trade.
- PASSED THE U.S. SENATE: Led the fight as chair of the Aviation and Space Subcommittee to unanimously pass in the Senate the NASA Authorization Act, legislation that gives NASA the resources it needs to face a new era of space exploration and enhances our presence in low-Earth orbit. The bill will also help Americans safely return to the moon and will bring us closer to an American taking the first step on the surface of Mars. In addition, Sen. Cruz’s legislationto permanently protect the Apollo landing sites on the moon also passed the House and Senate.
- Led efforts to urgethe U.S. Air Force to designate Port San Antonio and Joint Base San Antonio (JBSA) as the location for the U.S. Space Command Headquarters (USSPACECOM HQ).
- SIGNED INTO LAW: Led efforts in the Senate to pass legislationauthorizing the Daughters of the Republic of Texas to establish a memorial commemorating the Republic of Texas Legation in Washington D.C. which was signed into law in December.
Boosting Jobs, Jobs, Jobs
- Provided much needed relief by supporting additional funding for the Paycheck Protection Program(PPP) to assist small businesses and hardworking men and women who are hurting as a result of this unprecedented economic devastation. Sen. Cruz also introduced legislationto expand the PPP to local chambers of commerce to provide valuable resources to small businesses across the country.
- SIGNED INTO LAW: Led efforts to pass through the U.S. Senate the Paycheck Protection Small Business Forgiveness Act, legislation to streamline the PPP loan forgiveness process for small business owners, which would help lessen the burden they have shouldered due to coronavirus.
- Introduced the Cost Recovery and Expensing Acceleration to Transform the Economy and Jumpstart Opportunities for Businesses and Startupsor CREATE JOBS Act, legislation to boost jobs by restructuring the tax code and reforming expensing.
- Introduced the Loan Interest Forgiveness for Taxpayers Under a Pandemicor LIFT UP Act, legislation that would expand the eligibility for debt forgiveness provided in the CARES Act to small businesses that received Small Business Administration disaster loans.
- Introduced the Work Safe Act, legislation that would provide tax credits to businesses that test employees for COVID-19 every week – a common sense step to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
- Introduced two pieces of legislationaimed at reforming the National Environmental Policy Act to streamline infrastructure projects and help get men and women all across the country back to work.
Confirming Constitutionalist Judges and Protecting Our Independent Judiciary
- As a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Cruz led the fight to confirmJudge Amy Coney Barrett to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, the third Supreme Court justice he has helped confirm since 2017. Justice Barrett is a principled constitutionalist with impeccable credentials and her confirmation was a great victory for every American who cares about the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and our fundamental liberties.
- In 2020, the Senate confirmed 48 federal judges, while celebratingthe 200th federal judicial nominee confirmed by the Senate since the election of President Donald J. Trump. These 234 judges will faithfully interpret and apply the law as part of an independent judiciary, and their addition to the federal courts will benefit all Americans who value the Constitution and individual liberties for decades to come.
- Led the fight in the Senate to preserve the integrity and independence of the Supreme Court by introducing two proposals, including the “Keep Nine”constitutional amendment, to maintain the number of justices on the bench and protect Americans’ constitutional liberties.
Standing with the Brave Men and Women of Law Enforcement
- Took a stand against Antifa and introduced the Restitution for Economic losses Caused by Leaders who Allow Insurrection and Mayhem or RECLAIM Act, legislation to hold state and local officials liable when rioters establish lawless ‘autonomous zones’ and officials abdicate their duty to protect their citizens. Sen. Cruz also delivereda speech on the Senate floor condemning the violent groups that hijacked the peaceful and just protests honoring George Floyd, and calling for strong leadership to stop the riots and restore law and order.
- SignedHeritage Action’s Police Pledgeto reaffirm his support for the men and women of our nation’s law enforcement and his commitment to ensuring the safety and security of our communities.
- Introduced legislationto rename the U.S. Border Patrol Station in Rocksprings to honor Agent Donna M. Doss, who proudly served in the U.S. Border Patrol for more than 15 years and was killed in the line of duty.
- Chaired a hearingtitled “The Right of the People Peaceably to Assemble: Protecting Speech by Stopping Anarchist Violence,” examining how groups like Antifa and other anti-American anarchists exploit peaceful protests and engage in political violence.
- Took action to protect Americans by re-introducing Kate’s law, legislation to impose a mandatory minimum prison sentence on illegal aliens with serious felony convictions who illegally reenter the country.
- Introduced the National Child Identification Act, legislation that would authorize the use of federal grant funds from the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974 to provide child identification kits to local law enforcement for distribution to parents of children who attend kindergarten or elementary school. These kits remain with parents, who may provide the kit to law enforcement in the tragic event that their child is missing.
- SIGNED INTO LAW: Led efforts to renamea U.S. Post Office in Houston, Texas the “Deputy Sandeep Singh Dhaliwal Post Office Building,” to serve as a lasting tribute to Deputy Dhaliwal’s trailblazing legacy for Sikh Americans and religious minorities in law enforcement. This legislation passed the U.S. Senate and was signed into law in
Holding Big Tech Accountable
- Fought to subpoenaboth Twitter CEO Jack Dorseyand Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on political censorship and election interference and questioned them at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.
- Called for a criminal investigationinto Twitter for violating our laws prohibiting Americans from providing services to sanctioned Iranian individuals.
- Sent two letters – one to Googleand one to Facebook– slamming the companies for their separate announcements regarding their decisions to limit or block election advertising.
- Joined Parler, a pro-free-speech social media platform.
- Questionedthe CEOs of Twitter, Facebook, and Google at a Senate Commerce Committee hearing regarding Big Tech’s repeated political censorship and their attempts to interfere in the 2020 election, as well as the need to reform Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.
Protecting Our Religious Freedom
- Introduced the Safeguarding Americans from Coronavirus and Religious Exercise Discrimination or SACRED Act, legislation that would block federal funding for COVID relief to state and local governments that discriminate against religious individuals or institutions, violating their First Amendment rights.
- INFLUENCED THE ADMINISTRATION: Called onthe Department of Justice to investigate state and local officials who target and discriminate against religious communities under the guise of protecting public health, which resulted in a rebuke of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.
- Sent a letterurging the Secretary of Defense to protect religious freedom within the Department of Defense after reports that the Army has censored military chaplains and harmed their ability to provide religious services during the coronavirus pandemic – access that is not only essential for many service members, but also mandated by the Constitution.
- Joined an amicus briefon behalf of 34 Senators supporting the Capitol Hill Baptist Church’s lawsuit against Muriel Bowser, the Mayor of Washington, D.C., after she permitted and participated in several mass protests but issued COVID-19 regulations prohibiting a religious gathering of more than 100 individuals outdoors.
- Penned an op-edwarning against the dangers of “pandemic authoritarianism” and urged state and local leaders to protect Americans’ civil liberties as we all work together to combat COVID-19.
- Sent a letterto the Small Business Administration (SBA) requesting a full investigation into the 37 Planned Parenthood affiliates who applied for and improperly received a total of $80 million in loans from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).
- Called on the administration to maintain pro-life protections during the search for COVID-19 treatments and cures.
- Urgedthe FDA to classify the abortion pill Mifeprex as a hazard to public health.
Honoring Our Veterans
- Introduced the Limiting and Enabling Gathering Awards Commemorating Yesteryearor LEGACY Act to facilitate the repatriation of medals, including the Congressional Medal of Honor (MoH), into the United States for display in museums and for educational purposes.
- Cosponsored the National Purple Heart Honor Mission Commemorative Coin Act, legislation that would direct the Treasury Department to issue $5 gold coins, $1 silver coins, and half-dollar clad coins in 2022 honoring Purple Heart recipients and the work of the National Purple Heart Honor Mission.
- SIGNED INTO LAW: Led efforts in the Senate to pass legislationthat would give the president authority to award posthumously the Medal of Honor to Texas’s own Sergeant First Class (SFC) Alwyn Cashe. This legislation was signed into law in December.
- SIGNED INTO LAW: Led efforts to renamea U.S. Postal Office located in Castroville, Texas as the “Lance Corporal Rhonald Dain Rairdan Post Office,” as a memorial to Lance Corporal Rairdan and his fellow soldiers who fell in the line of duty. This legislation passed the U.S. Senate and was signed into law in December.
Defending Our Second Amendment Rights
- Urgedthe ATF to ensure that law-abiding citizens are not deprived of their constitutional right to keep and bear arms during the coronavirus pandemic.
- Raised concernsto the Attorney General andthe Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) about the ATF’s practice of relying on non-public standards in its regulation of the importation of ArmaLite Rifle (AR) styled pistols and pistol stabilizing braces.
Standing Up to America’s Enemies and Adversaries While Standing With Her Allies
- PASSED THE U.S. SENATE: Led a congressional push to halt construction of Vladimir Putin’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline by clarifying and expanding sanctions. If completed, the Nord Stream 2 pipeline would reward Russia’s aggressive expansionism and economic blackmail, hold our European allies’ energy security hostage to Russia, and undermine America’s national security interests. These efforts passed the U.S. Senate.
- INFLUENCED THE ADMINISTRATION: Led the fight for the United States to exit from Cold War-style treaties that constrain American capabilities while providing advantages to Russia or China, such as the Open Skies Treatyand outdated nuclear treaties.
- Attendedthe White House signing ceremony for the Abraham Accords, historic agreements to normalize relations between Israel and its Arab neighbors, the achievement of which validated Sen. Cruz’s long-running advocacy that unapologetically standing with Israel would unite our allies across the region.
- INFLUENCED THE ADMINISTRATION: Led the fight to end the catastrophic Obama-Iran nuclear deal, including by revokingthe remaining civil-nuclear waiversstemming from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and calling for the deal to be ended once and for all by invoking UN snapback sanctions, restoring all international sanctions on Iran and preventing the United Nations Arms embargo on Iran from expiring.
- Introduced the Muslim Brotherhood Terrorist Designation Act, a bill that urges the U.S. State Department to use its statutory authority to designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a Foreign Terrorist Organization.
- Introduced the Stop Sending American Taxpayer Money To Governments Controlled By Terrorists Actaimed at creating accountability related to the use of American funds in Hezbollah-controlled Lebanon.
- PASSED THE U.S. SENATE: Following the successful mission that killed Qasem Soleimani, the head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force and a designated terrorist, Sen. Cruz introduced and the Senate passedin February an amendment recognizing and applauding the president and the brave men and women involved in the mission.
- Fought againstand introduced a resolution condemningthe International Criminal Court for unjust, politicized prosecutions against American and Israeli citizens.
- Cruz’s leadershipagainst the CCP’s human rights atrocities and political oppression led to his being repeatedly sanctioned, something he calls “a badge of honor.”
- Led efforts to end U.S. dependence on China for rare earth elements and other critical minerals by introducing the Onshoring Rare Earths or ORE Act, legislation that would establish a supply chain in the U.S. for minerals used to manufacture defense technologies and other high-tech products.
- INFLUENCED THE ADMINISTRATION: Led the fight to combat the CCP’s propaganda by introducing the Blocking Evasive Attempts to Manipulate Signals or BEAMS Act, legislation to prevent the CCP from exploiting Federal Communications Commission (FCC) loopholes to propagandize to Americans from radio stations in Mexico or Canada, including through stations entangled with Chinese state-owned media outlets such as Phoenix TV. This legislation resulted in the Trump Administration blocking the license to these stations.
- Introduced the Stopping Censorship, Restoring Integrity, Protecting Talkiesor SCRIPT Act, legislation cutting off Hollywood studios from assistance they receive from the Department of Defense if those studios censor their films for screening in China.
- Introduced the Sanctioning and Highlighting Authoritarian Medicine and Eugenics or SHAME Act, legislation sanctioning CCP officials for systematic ethnic cleansing, including through forced abortions and other coercive population control measures in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.
- Introduced the Strongly and Unambiguously Sanctioning Proliferators Exploiting Nuclear Diplomacy or SUSPEND Act, legislationimposing sanctions on the defense sectors of China and Russia unless those countries reverse violations of their obligations under international arms control treaties.
- Introduced the Protecting America from Spies Act, legislation that would allow the Department of State to deny visas to individuals who have committed acts of espionage or intellectual property theft against the United States.
- Stood with our friends in Taiwan by introducing the Taiwan Symbols of Sovereignty Act, allowing diplomats and service members in the Taiwanese military to display their flag and wear their uniforms while in the United States on official businesses, and fighting againstthe exclusion of Taiwan from international forums such as ICAO at the behest of Communist China.
- Fought to ensure deep and robust relations between the United States and our Mexican partners, including working withthe Trump administration to protect supply lines running between the two countries and recently calling onthe Departments of State and Justice to prevent the Mexican government from undermining our countries’ security and law enforcement relationship.
- Introduced a bipartisan resolutionto rename the street outside the Cuban Embassy in Washington D.C. as “Oswaldo Payá Way,” casting a light on the Cuban regime’s human rights atrocities.
- Introduced a bipartisan resolutionexpressing support for the people of Nicaragua.
- Continued working to bring home Americans unjustly held by the Maduro regime in Venezuela, includingcalling for sanctionsagainst officials involved in the imprisonment of the CITGO 6.
By Hector E. Garcia The United States Senate was considered in the early 1990s the greatest deliberative body on earth.... read more