Sen. Ted Cruz: We shouldn't be implementing ObamaCare when it could throw us into a recession

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," March 11, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Now to ObamaCare. It may be the law of the land, but that is not stopping Senator Ted Cruz. He is taking action against ObamaCare. Senator Cruz joins us. Nice to see you, sir.

SEN. TED CRUZ, R- TEXAS: Great to see you, Greta.

VAN SUSTEREN: OK, so you are proposing an amendment to the continuing resolution to slow down the funding of ObamaCare. Explain what you want and why.

CRUZ: Well, I think the top priority of every elected representative in Washington should be economic growth. If you look at the past four years, our economy's not growing. And in the last four years, it's grown 0.8 percent a year. And as a result of that stagnant growth, we're not able to get 23 million people back to work. Our federal balance sheet remains a train wreck.

The only way to solve the deficit, to solve the debt, to get people back to work, to get opportunity flowing again is to get growth. This last quarter, we had growth of 0.1 percent. So this week, on the continuing resolution, I'm introducing an amendment that is entitled Restore Growth First, and what it would do is delay funding "Obama care" until we get back to historic levels of growth.

With the economy stagnant, if we implement ObamaCare now, it will kill jobs! It will hammer small businesses! And it could well push us into a recession. That doesn't make any sense!

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, is there any likelihood you're going to get a vote on this?

CRUZ: Well, I actually feel quite confident we're going to get a vote. When I initially introduced it, there was a fair amount of skepticism, and we've seen in the several days since then, one Republican after another Republican after another Republican coming on board. And I believe we'll get a vote.

Now, it's not likely to pass the Senate because all 55 Democrats will vote against it. But I think it's helpful, number one, for us to be focusing on growth and the fact that the policies that the president is pushing could well push us into a recession.

But number two, there's a good chance the Senate's going to amend the continuing resolution, which will send it back to the House, and I'm hopeful the House, if they get this back, will add this to the continuing resolution and will be willing to send it to the president and see if the president is willing to try to shut down the government in order to insist that ObamaCare be implemented now, even though the economy is gasping, people are hurting, jobs are not there, and implementing ObamaCare now could make things a lot worse.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, without going into the substantive value, whether it's a good idea or a bad idea, it's just the total strategic process, is there -- do you really believe that Senator Harry Reid in any way is going to let this get, you know, one foot out the door of the Senate?

CRUZ: Well, I think he'll allow a vote on it.

VAN SUSTEREN: You really think so?

CRUZ: Because he has the votes to kill it. He's confident...

VAN SUSTEREN: So he'll (INAUDIBLE) let it vote and it get killed.

CRUZ: He's confident his 55 Democrats will march in lockstep to say, even though the economy is stagnant -- you know, as ObamaCare has started to be implemented, we've seen more and more small businesses dropping health care coverage -- people are losing their coverage -- and more and more employers telling their employees, We're going to force you to work fewer hours...

VAN SUSTEREN: And you know what else...

CRUZ: ... and people's premiums are jumping up.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, you know what the thing that I don't get is how many people get waivers! I mean, the whole point of it was that everybody was in to keep the pot down, so that it'd be cheaper for everybody. And you look over at HHS, and all sorts of organizations and groups and unions and everybody else is getting all these wavers! It's, like, what -- you know, like, every -- the single people who don't have -- belong to these big groups are saying, What about me?

CRUZ: And it's even worse than that because the waivers aren't uniform. They're being given to those who have political connections, those who have sway with the Obama administration.

So I was talking to a small businessman in Houston who owns a lumber yard, and he was complaining that his competitors are getting waivers, so their costs are going down. They're much bigger companies. And he's having to struggle against those with political juice.

VAN SUSTEREN: How about all the U.S. senators on both sides of the aisle -- well, actually, probably the Democratic side -- who voted for -- voted for this statute, and now when they see their constituents are -- or medical device people are going to have to pay tax, suddenly they want waivers.

CRUZ: Sure.

VAN SUSTEREN: Suddenly, they don't like it because nobody bothered to read it before they voted for it!

CRUZ: Right. Now, the impact has been terrible. You look at young people. You take a young person coming out of school right now. If ObamaCare is fully implemented, it becomes harder for them to get a job. If they do get a job, their employer may well restrict their hours. And even then, if they get health care, the premiums are skyrocketing, especially for young people!

And look, I think ObamaCare is a bad idea altogether. I think we should repeal every word of it. But at a minimum, we shouldn't be implementing it at a time when the economy is gasping, and putting it into place could very well push us into a recession. And so the purpose of this amendment is say, Let's at least wait until growth is back first. That's what we should be focusing on is economic growth.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, what's your message for CPAC when you give your speech this weekend, I guess? What's your message?

CRUZ: You know, the message is that Republicans need to get back to two words, "growth and opportunity." This last election, Republicans didn't win the argument. Margaret Thatcher famously said, First you win the argument, then you win the vote. We didn't win the vote.

And in particular, we didn't make the case that free market policies benefit those who are struggling, who are climbing the economic ladder. You know, under President Obama, the people who've been hurt the most are those who are worst off among us.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, that's what -- that's what Mr. Herman Cain just said moments ago. He talked about the black community. We've got an unemployment rate of someplace in -- in Detroit, like, about 28 percent in the inner city. It's just terrible.

CRUZ: It's tragic. It's African-Americans. It's Hispanics. It's young people. It's single moms.

VAN SUSTEREN: Nobody campaigns in these horrible neighborhood where they're really suffering! It's, like, they're completely irrelevant, and it's very troubling. Very troubling. I did poverty law for years, and I find it appalling that nobody does do that.

But anyway, Senator, nice to see you, sir.

CRUZ: It's always great to be with you.