WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, is calling on President Obama to show he is willing to hold himself and members of his Administration accountable to the American people by answering concerns about the government’s handling of personal data in his State of the Union Address. This is one of five crucial questions Sen. Cruz would like answered.
Regarding privacy, Senator Cruz has asked:?“Will the President act to ensure that the privacy of law-abiding citizens is protected from unjustifiable violations by arms of the federal government such as the NSA, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Internal Revenue Service, and Department of Health and Human Services?”
Last year, the NSA’s collection of personal phone metadata of private American citizens was exposed. At the same time, it appears that none of the information being collected helped prevent domestic terror attacks like the Fort Hood shooting or Boston Marathon bombing. While the President last week acknowledged the need to reform the process of bulk collection of Americans’ personal information, it remains critical that our nation’s intelligence resources are targeted at stopping those most likely to attack Americans and less on law-abiding citizens.
This follows the IRS’s illegal targeting of conservative groups seeking to exercise First Amendment rights and the President’s failure to make good on his vow to “work hand in hand” with Congress to investigate the matter. Sen. Cruz is also demanding answers regarding this scandal and the new rules IRS regulators are now pursuing to further silence free speech.
Meanwhile, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) still has not put proper protections in place to safeguard personal information from security flaws that now exist on the Obamacare websites. Security experts have warned the Administration numerous times it is putting American’s data at risk and still, no assurances have been made that it is safe.
Lastly, the newly created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is using its virtually unfettered authority to conduct financial surveillance on Americans. CFPB’s director has made no apologies for wanting to monitor transactions for at least 80 percent of the credit card market or for collecting data on bank accounts and mortgages, over the express concerns of government watchdogs that CFPB cannot keep this sensitive information secure. This cannot be allowed to continue.
As government grows, personal liberty declines. Our government, and this administration in particular, must be held accountable to protecting the private information of law-abiding American citizens.
Sen. Cruz has asked a series of questions that Americans expect President Obama to answer in his State of the Union address. The remaining questions are as follows and will be highlighted daily leading up to the President’s speech Tuesday:
• Will the President recognize that his economic policies have failed to create the millions of jobs that he promised and have, instead, reduced the labor force participation rate to its lowest level in decades? Will he commit to commonsense, job-creating policies such as the immediate authorization of the Keystone Pipeline, a moratorium on new regulations, and fundamental tax reform for every American?
• Will the President call on Congress to form a Joint Select Committee to finally discover the truth of why four Americans perished in a preventable terrorist attack in Benghazi 16 months ago?
• Will the President finally recognize that it was a mistake to ram through Obamacare on a party-line vote and that, right now, it is hurting millions of Americans? Will he take real responsibility for misleading the American people when he falsely promised “if you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan” and “if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor”? Will he acknowledge that he doesn’t have the power to unilaterally rewrite the health law for powerful favored interests such as big business and Congress? And will he finally work with Congress to repeal Obamacare and start over, adopting instead reforms that will make healthcare more personal, portable, and affordable?
• Will the President allow the Department of Justice to appoint a special prosecutor to fully investigate the IRS’s illegal targeting of conservatives? The President should be eager to prove he has clean hands on this issue. He professed to be angry and outraged by the IRS abuse. Will he pledge to stop new IRS rules that restrict the free speech of non-profit groups?