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Government Shutdown Not Ted Cruz's Fault, Says Business Owner

Melissah Yang |
October 1, 2013 | 12:09 p.m. PDT

Senior News Editor

(Gage Skidmore/Flickr)
(Gage Skidmore/Flickr)
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, has led the Tea Party's charge to defund the Affordable Care Act since assuming office earlier this year, criticizing the president's healthcare reform as a way of stifling economic growth and hurting small businesses.

But Cruz has stayed mum in the aftermath of Tuesday's government shutdown.

It's a stark contrast to the junior senator's long-standing role as one of the act's most outspoken critics.

"Nothing is killing jobs more. Nothing is hurting the American economy more than Obamacare," he said on the Senate floor in July.

Cruz went on to say the House of Representatives should pass a resolution that would fund the entirety of the federal government except for Obamacare and prohibit further funding of it. 

The threat of a government shutdown was far from the senator's mind.

In July, Cruz repeated his call for lawmakers to defund the Affordable Care Act, saying history in retrospect showed that a government shutdown would not seriously hurt the country.

"I think the received wisdom that '95 was a disaster is completely wrong," Cruz said. "I think it was important that Republicans stood for principle and it actually led to some serious solutions to the fiscal and economic challenges facing this country."

And in one last effort, Cruz spoke for more than 20 hours last Wednesday to delay funding for Obamacare, the fourth-longest speech in the Senate's history. 

"There are politicians in this body who are not listening to the people," Cruz said. "They are not listening to the concerns of their constituents, they are not listening to the jobs lost or the people forced into part-time work, to the people losing their health insurance, to the people who are struggling."

Some Texas business owners continued to support Cruz's efforts despite the government shutdown.

"I think he was trying to bring to light the seriousness of it and how close it is, that it's right around the corner, that it's actually going to happen," said Heather Williamson-Rivera, manager of Angleton Flower & Gift Shop, located an hour outside of Houston. She blamed Democrats for letting the Republican Party take the pitfall.

Williamson-Rivera, who manages the family-owned floral shop of 45 years, said her business used to provide insurance for its employees but stopped after it became too expensive.

But she said her six full-time employees, one of whom is uninsured, still weren't thrilled about Obamacare.

"The government requiring every person to purchase something against their will is not part of a democracy or part of the republic," she said.

Reach senior news editor Melissah Yang here. Follow her @MelissahYang.



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