WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz reiterated to a group of conservative lawyers on Tuesday that "failure is not an option" when it comes to GOP efforts to overhaul former President Obama's 2010 health care law.
"That's had a rocky few days," he told members of the Federalist Society, referencing the House GOP's futile attempt to repeal the law. "But it's important to keep in mind, No. 1, we have got to get it done."
"You can't spend six years campaigning and telling voters, 'If you elect us, we'll do this,' and then don't do it," Cruz added.
Cruz, widely considered a divisive force in Washington, portrayed himself as a consensus builder on the matter.
"The task in Congress is very simple: Sit down and bring people together," he said.
Of the breakneck speed at which House Republicans introduced and attempted passage of the health care overhaul, he added, "18 days does not a final product make."
He suggested his colleagues focus on "areas of consensus," and described "hundreds of meetings" he has participated in on the issue with Trump administration officials and colleagues in both chambers.
As he has in other recent speeches, Cruz suggested that full control of the legislative and executive branches offers the GOP a unique opportunity to push for conservative goals.
"I think we are likely to pass significant tax reform either this summer or fall," he said of the issue many Republicans are anxious to tackle next in light of the health care defeat.
Cruz also pointed to the judiciary as another bright spot, despite Democratic threats to filibuster President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch.
"Next week, the Senate will take up Judge Gorsuch, and I believe next week we will confirm Neil Gorsuch as the next associate of the U.S. Supreme Court," Cruz said.