BROWNSVILLE, RGV – U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz has been asked if he can help ease the regulatory red tape in order for a 2nd Causeway for South Padre Island to be built more quickly.
Cruz was told about the need to draw more tourists to the Rio Grande Valley by veteran broadcaster Ron Whitlock of Ron Whitlock Reports, which airs on Televisa. They met during a Q&A Cruz held with reporters after the senator had toured a shrimp facility in Brownsville.
Whitlock asked: “Can you commit to asking President Trump to issue an executive order to urge the federal regulatory agencies to expedite the environmental document approval for South Padre Island’s 2nd Causeway?”
Whitlock added: “Then, when our President is ready to spend a trillion dollars on infrastructure, we will be ready to go, to put people to work, to build that bridge, to make this a more dynamic tourism region for the state of Texas.”
Whitlock’s question also included reference to the regulatory process governing liquefied natural gas export terminals potentially being built at the Port of Brownsville. Whitlock’s question about easing regulatory procedures was two minutes in length. This spurred a quip from Cruz: “Let me quote the movie Jerry Maguire, you had me at ‘Hello’.”
Cruz said he “emphatically” agreed with Whitlock about easing the regulatory process. He also said he is on good terms with the Trump Administration.
“We are talking with the White House on a daily basis. We are talking with the Administration on a daily basis. Both of the points you raise really go to regulatory reform which is one of the big four priorities that matter,” Cruz said.
“I’m actively urging the Administration to move forward with regulatory reform. We have seen some positive steps; what they have done so far has been quite good. They need to do more.”
Cruz said the best thing to do is pursue regulatory reform on three parallel paths.
“First is executive as you (Whitlock) suggested. Now executive is quick, it can be done rapidly but it is also temporary, the next administration can take it away. The second path is regulatory, going through notice and comment, issuing formal regulations. That’s slower, it takes a little bit longer but it is more permanent. It is harder to undo. It takes the same formal notice and comment to undo it. The third and the most permanent is legislative. Legislative takes the longest, it is by far the slowest, but once it is in law it is much harder to undo.”
Cruz then related government regulations in general to South Padre Island in particular.
“You talked about building a new bridge to Padre. We are going to take up infrastructure, probably early next year. And I have got some optimism that Congress will pass an infrastructure bill. Republicans want to pass an infrastructure bill. Democrats want to pass an infrastructure bill. I think infrastructure may be the single best legislative vehicle to see real regulatory reform codified into statute,” Cruz said.
“I am on the Senate Conference Committee, and the case I am making on the committee is that it doesn’t make any sense to spend billions of dollars on roads and bridges if you can’t get a permit to build the dang road and bridge. And so, let’s use the infrastructure bill to cut through the permitting process, to speed up building new roads, building new bridges.”
Cruz had four stops in the Valley yesterday. Early in the morning he was in Edinburg for a roundtable with Valley agriculture leaders. He met them at J&D Produce, Inc. His second stop was in Mission, where he toured the Royal Technologies manufacturing plant and had a mini-town hall meeting with its employees.
Cruz’s third stop in the Valley on Tuesday was at the Pharr International Bridge. It was his first visit to the Valley’s top port of entry for truck traffic. There he had a roundtable discussion with city officials.
Cruz’s fourth stop was in Brownsville for a tour of Rich Products Corporation.
On Monday, Cruz was in Laredo where he talked about NAFTA renegotiations. Cruz said he supported efforts to expand trade and open up markets in both Canada and Mexico.
“I think [modernizing and updating NAFTA] could be a good and positive thing,” Cruz said in Laredo. “If the focus of NAFTA renegotiation is expanding international trade – opening up markets with Mexico and Canada, I think that’s a good thing. I have urged the President and the administration to use NAFTA renegotiation in a manner that allows more American small businesses, farmers and ranchers to sell more of their products and that puts American jobs first.”
In Brownsville, Cruz spoke about expanding economic opportunities.
“My priorities from day one in the Senate have been jobs and economic growth,” Cruz said. “Those are the priorities of Texans all across the state. Texans want more jobs, more opportunity, and higher wages. And we can achieve those priorities by lifting the regulatory burdens of Washington off the backs of small businesses, farmers, ranchers and job creators. By simplifying the tax code, and by repealing Obamacare, which has been the biggest job killer in the country. I am spending every waking moment, day and night, working to deliver on the promises made to the American people and to Texas families.”
The Ron Whitlock Reports show appears on Televisa’s TV 9 in the Rio Grande Valley; Sinclair’s FOX TV 38.1/Cable 11 & KTOV TV 38.3/Cable 15 in Corpus Christi & www.ronwhitlock.com.