Who needs the federal government? (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

Presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) sure does want to shut down a lot of the federal agencies he hopes to one day run.

The firebrand conservative and GOP presidential candidate has defined his young Senate career by almost reflexively opposing increased government spending and programs -- remember the 21-hour speech he gave on the Senate floor in September 2013 to try to halt Obamacare? In fact, threatening to defund federal agencies as a political tool has kind of become his MO.

"I think we should shrink the size and power of the federal government by every and any means possible," he told the Daily Caller in 2012. "What does that mean? That means eliminating unnecessary or unconstitutional agencies."

And even after Cruz announced he's running for president in March -- a job that would make him the boss of said agencies -- it seems his perspective hasn't changed.

Here are at least four federal agencies presidential candidate Cruz said he would cut, defund or abolish. (Come back often; we expect this list to grow.)

The State Department

Most recently, Cruz threatened in a letter to President Obama to hold up State Department nominees and hold all bills that fund it. He hopes cutting off funding for our nation's hub of diplomacy will ensure President Obama doesn't let the United Nations approve the Iran nuclear deal before Congress can.

[How to argue about the Iran deal]

And when the State Department was four months late in releasing its annual human rights report in June -- something critics like Cruz contended was to appease Iran during the nuclear negotiations -- he suggested docking the department's budget for every month the report was delayed.


In the days before he made his presidential campaign official, Cruz traveled to New Hampshire and vowed to abolish the IRS. Cruz reiterated his 2012 call for the IRS to go -- which would mean no taxes for anyone, we guess? To justify his position, he compared federal regulators to locusts that deserve to be killed.

"I was out once in West Texas and I said the only difference is you can't use pesticide on the regulators," he said.

The Department of Education

At the same New Hampshire campaign event, Cruz said the Department of Education must close. Apparently this is the very first agency he'd get rid of, he told the Daily Caller in 2012: "I think education is far too important to be governed by unelected bureaucrats in Washington."

The Export-Import Bank

Cruz has already succeeded in temporarily closing down the Export-Import Bank, an independent self-sustaining agency that helps American businesses invest overseas, partly by loaning foreign buyers the money. He and fellow tea party conservatives view the bank as a shining example of crony capitalism. And as Congress considers a vote to re-open the bank, he's threatening to do whatever it takes to keep it closed.

[The expiration of the Export-Import Bank, explained for those who don't know what that is]

And more to come ...

Cruz may have an agency hit list longer than these four. According to Politifact.com, Cruz told the Houston Chronicle in 2012 he'd also get rid of: "the Department of Commerce, the Department of Energy, the National Endowment of the Arts."

If presidential candidate Cruz calls for those to be abolished, we'll add it to the list here.