Ted Cruz is many things: a coward, a weird guy, and the single largest individual purchaser of soup in the Western Hemisphere. He is also, apparently, a Reply Guy, especially to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Cruz, like many of his Republican colleagues in Congress, just can’t stop shooting his shot in AOC’s replies. First it was to agree with her argument that former members of Congress shouldn’t be able to serve as lobbyists.
That attempt to get Ocasio-Cortez’s attention and platform worked, though as my colleague Libby Watson pointed out, such a bill wouldn’t do as much as you might think to eradicate the influence of lobbyists in Washington.
And today, Cruz is at it again, this time replying to a five-day-old tweet about birth control access:
In theory, this is a good idea. Birth control should be more accessible! That’s not what Ted Cruz or the Republican Party want, though. They want to let insurance companies off the hook for covering birth control, which wouldn’t increase “access” to people who can’t afford it.
The GOP has been on this hobbyhorse since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, which mandates that insurance companies cover female contraceptives as a preventive service. In 2015, Senate Republicans unveiled a bill that would have incentivized drug companies to introduce an over-the-counter alternative. Senate Democrats then filed their own bill requiring insurance companies to continue covering contraception.
“If something is too expensive, it doesn’t matter how easy it is to get. It might as well be on the moon,” Democratic Sen. Patty Murray said at the time. That same year, Cruz responded to a question about birth control access by saying, “We don’t have a rubber shortage in America.”
Here’s the thing about Ted Cruz: don’t trust him.
Update, 5:29 p.m. ET: Rep. Ayanna Pressley later tweeted at Cruz pushing him to support an over-the-counter birth control bill her and Murray have apparently written, with the support of Ocasio-Cortez.