This post has been updated
Sen. Ted Cruz wants to get rid of or change a lot of things if he is elected president. Imagine, he tells audiences in a small Iowa library or a South Carolina middle school gym or during a nationally televised debate, a country with no Internal Revenue Service. It's just one of the things, including what he calls an "alphabet soup" of regulators, that would be different under a President Cruz. The Texas Republican is going to be talking to a lot of voters in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada over the next month -- he's embarking on a five-day bus tour in New Hampshire on Monday -- so let's take a look at what he'd get rid of or change.
U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv
The U.S. Embassy in Israel is in Tel Aviv. Cruz wants to move it to Jerusalem, Israel's "once and eternal" capital.
In a piece for the National Review, Cruz said shuttering the department would "close the congressional cookie jar" and promote free trade.
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
Cruz's stump speech includes mention of abolishing "The C.F.P.B and the alphabet soup of regulators." Last year he introduced a bill to get rid of the agency, which was created after the 2008 financial crisis.
Another standard line from Cruz: "U.S. Department of Education, which should be abolished." Cruz is a states' rights guy -- he wrote his college thesis on the 10th Amendment -- and wants to give control of schools to states or localities. He also would return block-grant funding to the states. But, he says, first things first: Before abolishing the Education Department, he would instruct it to get rid of the Common Core educational standards, a line that often elicits loud cheers from audiences.
Cruz has said the country needs an "energy renaissance." He introduced a bill that would get rid of the president's authority to restrict exports of coal, natural gas, petroleum and other products, as well as oil and gas from the outer continental shelf, and repeal limitations of oil exports. The Energy Department is one of five agencies Cruz wants to close. Cruz said that shuttering them -- along with four other changes, including freezing the hiring of civilian government employees -- would save the country $500 billion.
Department of Housing and Urban Development
Cruz would scrap many programs and reform those that would remain, including Section 8 housing, but it is unclear what would oversee them.
Internal Revenue Service
In his usual speech, Cruz states that he wants to "abolish the IRS." The reason? The agency, in his estimation, is a symbol of bloated Washington bureaucracy. He tells a joke about putting the agency's 90,000 employees on the Southern border, because if you were attempting to cross the border into the United States and saw them lined up, "you'd go home, too." His solution: streamline the tax code so every American "can fill out their taxes on a postcard" or a smartphone app. He is calling for a flat tax, a system that would abolish income and payroll taxes.
Iran nuclear deal
Cruz has called the threat of a nuclear Iran the greatest national security danger to the United States. He has pledged that he would "rip to shreds" the deal on his first day in office. "We are all very grateful" for the release of five Americans who were imprisoned in the country, "but at the same time, this deal is a very problematic deal, and it represents a pattern we’ve seen in the Obama administration over and over again of negotiating with terrorists,” Cruz said on “Fox News Sunday.”
Cruz has said he wants to "utterly destroy" the terrorist organization, pledging to "carpet-bomb" Islamic militants until he finds out whether "sand can glow in the dark."
Cruz really doesn't like the Affordable Care Act, to the point where he spearheaded controversial tactics in an attempt to thwart passage of the legislation that led to a 16-day government shutdown -- including a 21-hour Senate floor speech in which he read, among other things, "Green Eggs and Ham." Cruz tells audiences that he wants to "repeal every word" of the law and that "we’ll pass common-sense health-care reform that makes health insurance personal and portable and affordable and keeps government from getting in between us and our doctors."
President Obama's executive orders
"The first thing I intend to do is rescind every single illegal and unconstitutional executive action taken by this president," Cruz said about his first day in office. They include ones on immigration and gun control. President Obama has said that he is using his executive authority with a phone and a pen. "Those executive orders are not worth the paper they’re printed on because when you live by the pen, you die by the pen, and my pen has got an eraser," Cruz says.
Refugees from certain countries
Cruz introduced legislation last year that would have barred from entering the United States refugees from any country the State Department has determined is controlled in part by a foreign terrorist organization. The bill did not pass. Cruz previously said that Muslim refugees from Syria should not be allowed in the United States but that there should be a safe haven for Christians.
Sanctuary cities are municipalities that have policies where some undocumented immigrants are not prosecuted. Cruz introduced a bill to ban them after a young woman in San Francisco was fatally shot by an undocumented immigrant. Cruz said that sanctuary cities undermine national security and need to be banned to strengthen the nation's immigration system.