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Cruz Says Next Speaker Should Repeal Obamacare 'Exemption'

Sen. Cruz has suggestions for the next speaker of the House. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Ted Cruz wants anyone who wants to be the next speaker of the House to roll back health care contributions under Obamacare for lawmakers.  

"I'll tell ya, a very strong thing the next speaker could do is tee up and vote at the outset on repealing the congressional exemption from Obamacare. That's something career politicians don't want to do, but that would be a strong opening action for a new Republican speaker to say we're going to listen to the men and women who elected us," the Texas GOP presidential candidate said on Sean Hannity's radio program.  

The issue of how members and staff get health care benefits through the health care exchange in Washington, D.C., under the Affordable Care Act has been an issue for years, with Sen. David Vitter, R-La., having led an unpopular campaign to end employer contributions for the insurance plans used by senators and some other officials.  

That proposal has faced bipartisan opposition, and the sponsor of an earlier version of the amendment to the health care legislation regarding the staff and member subsidies, Republican Sen. Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, has said he did not intend to take away the contributions for employees.  

As for the race for speaker, Cruz is continuing to keep his powder dry. Hannity asked specifically what Cruz thought of current Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., who has been the favorite to take over the top job in the chamber.  

"I have long said that House leadership decisions are a decision for the House conference to make, and so I've pretty conciously avoided sticking my nose into it," Cruz said. "I like Kevin personally, and what I've said publicly is I hope whoever the next speaker is that he or she be a strong conservative who is commited to honoring the promises we made to the voters. I think that's the most important criteria.

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