This is a rush transcript from "Your World," March 25, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
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SEN. TED CRUZ, R-TEXAS: The federal government does not have the authority to force people to violate their faith, particularly when they're granting exemptions to every other powerful interest. They can't single out people of faith and say, you will be treated worse than big business, worse than members of Congress.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
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NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Texas senator Ted Cruz today on the holy war playing outside a very snowy Supreme Court today, at issue, whether the highest court in the land must acknowledge an even higher authority above.
Can you force a business to sign on to a health care law that violates their religious beliefs? Because these protests in Washington, they weren't over the individual mandate. They were over the contraception mandate. And the company stating its case says its has no less than God in its corner.
Welcome, everybody. Glad to have you. I'm Neil Cavuto.
More on that epic fight in a moment.
First to Ted Cruz seizing another moment, because it looks like the Texas senator just stopped taxpayers from getting, oh, I don't know, IMFed -- at least that what he says -- removing a provision in a Ukrainian aid package that would have forced taxpayers to pony up an additional $68 million to the International Monetary Fund.
Harry Reid moments ago removing that very language, and Senator Cruz just delighted he did.
The senator joins me right now from Washington.
Senator, well, it's good to see you indoors, rather than out in the snow.
CAVUTO: Congratulations for this. That's quite a -- quite a coup, because that $68 million was sticking in a lot of people's craw.
How did it get there in the first place?
CRUZ: Well, thank you, Neil. It's great to be with you.
And, likewise, I'm glad that we're not out in the snow getting snowed on right now.
You know, the IMF provision should not have been included in the Ukraine bill to begin with. They had nothing to do with the Ukraine. We had bipartisan support for imposing tough sanctions on Russia for standing with the people of Ukraine. And, unfortunately, the Obama administration tried to use it as an excuse to ram through changes to the IMF that they have been pushing for, for years.
And, in particular, if these changes had passed, they would have significantly increased the exposure of U.S. taxpayers, potentially billions of dollars, to IMF exposure. But in addition to that, and even more nonsensically, they would have decreased America's influence at the IMF and increased Russia's.
And I got to say, Neil, when you're trying to respond to Russia's act of war, act of unprovoked aggression, to respond by increasing Russia's influence at the IMF was really through the looking glass. And I spoke out. A number of us spoke out. And I'm very glad to see -- I commend Harry Reid for listening to reason, for listening to the views of the other side, and for pulling -- pulling it out of this -- this bill, so that we can now unite on standing with the people of Ukraine.
CAVUTO: Well, it was sort of a half-hearted bow to you, Senator.
As you know, he also said -- also blamed Republicans for all but encouraging the Crimea raid and the steal, the annexation on the part of Russia, because you were dallying a little bit on this aid. What did you make of that?
CRUZ: Well, look, that's just politics.
Over a week ago, we came, my friend and colleague Senator John Barrasso came to the Senate floor and asked unanimous consent to pass the House bill. The House bill over a week ago that would have provided aid to Ukraine. It didn't have the misguided IMF provisions.
And if Harry Reid and the Democrats had not objected, this would have passed and gone to Barack Obama's desk for signature over a week ago. And it's only because Harry Reid and the Democrats decided to play political games with it that it got delayed.
But, listen, at this point, I want to give credit where credit is due. Harry Reid and the Democrats heard the objections, the bipartisan objections, to decreasing America's role at the IMF and to increasing Russia's role at the IMF. And they quite rightly and wisely decided to drop the provision and instead focus where our priority should be, which is stopping Russia's aggression and standing with the people of Ukraine.
CAVUTO: You know, Senator, I was thinking of this. With or without the IMF feature, Ron Paul was here saying, how sure are we that any aid that goes to Ukraine gets to the people we intend? Or, in this case, since Ukraine owes the Russians $1.5 billion in various oil and energy contracts, the ultimate irony would be they have to cut a check with the money we give them to give to Russia.
CRUZ: No, it's a very good point.
And it's why I think the most important aid we could give would be, number one, immediately signing a free trade agreement with Ukraine, so they can sell their goods here, we can sell our goods there, and, number two, helping them put in place infrastructure to import liquid natural gas.
Energy and natural gas is the most effective economic blackmail Russia uses over Ukraine and much of Europe. We are blessed to have abundant supplies of natural gas in the United States, but the Obama administration has failed to approve over 20 applications to export LNG.
In my view, the administration should immediately approve all of those applications, allow LNG to be exported, and help Ukraine accept that LNG. And, Neil, what that would do is three things. One, it would help free Ukraine from economic blackmail from Russia. Two, it would strike Putin where it really hurts, which is in the wallet, because he is effectively petro tyrant relying on that energy to fund his military aggressiveness
But, three, it would generate jobs and economic growth here at home. It's a win-win, but, unfortunately, the Obama administration, at least to date, is still blocking it.
CAVUTO: I talked to TransCanada's CEO on Fox Business Report, Senator -- which is you don't get, by the way, you should demand.
CAVUTO: And one of the things he told me, Senator -- and I will play a clip from that -- is that we're putting ourselves on the receiving end of these Putin, you know, taunts because we're not -- we're not finishing that pipeline. This is from the TransCanada CEO, the guy who runs Keystone.
Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) RUSSELL GIRLING, CEO, TRANSCANADA: Energy security is an extremely important geopolitical matter. And, certainly, Keystone is -- was -- was a cornerstone of trying to build that here in North America. And it continues to be.
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