What does Ted Cruz believe? Where the candidate stands on 10 issues

WASHINGTON — Ted Cruz is senator, firebrand, former prosecutor, the son of a preacher-man (who was also a Cuban emigre), a Tea Party favorite and now a closely-watched presidential candidate. To begin the season of decision, here is a look at where the Republican contender stands on ten key issues.

The Budget and debt: Mandate a balanced budget.

Cruz supports a Constitutional amendment mandating that Congress pass a balanced budget. He argues that this is the best way to cut down deficits and the debt.

Corporations: End corporate income tax. End some programs like the Export-Import bank and federal subsidies for renewable fuels.

Cruz would end corporate income tax and replace it with a consumption-based tax (see below). He has railed against what he saw as “corporate welfare”, including the Export-Import Bank which helps foreign entities buy U.S. goods by insuring the purchase.. In addition, Cruz told voters in Iowa recently that he opposes subsidies for renewable fuels, including ethanol, because he believes the industry can compete without the federal funds.

READ MORE: What does Donald Trump believe?

Common Core: End it.

In stump speeches, Cruz stresses that he wants to repeal or roll back the Common Core education standards placed on states from the federal government. He is a co-sponsor of Local Control of Education Act, which allows states to opt out without affecting their ability to receive federal grant money.

Watch the PBS NewsHour Democratic Primary Debate, 9 p.m. EST Feb. 11, on your local PBS station, and in our live stream, which will begin at 8:30 p.m.

Immigration: Block any current effort that lets undocumented immigrants legally remain in the U.S.

Cruz has particularly stressed his opposition to President Obama’s executive actions on immigration. The Texas senator filed a bill blocking the president’s actions, which allow more undocumented residents to gain legal status, including the administration’s waivers for young people brought to the U.S. as children. Cruz argues that those actions encouraged increased illegal immigration. In addition, Cruz opposed the 2013 comprehensive immigration bill which passed the U.S. Senate. He denounced the bill as offering “amnesty.” One of his amendments would have tripled the number of border patrol agents and quadrupled their equipment. It did not pass.

The Internet: Do not tax access to the Internet and block “net neutrality.”

Cruz vigorously opposes any federal, state or local taxes for accessing the Internet, even though ending such taxes would cost his home state $358 million a year, according to the National Journal. The Texas senator strongly opposes “net neutrality,” which would block Internet providers from charging different rates or having different policies for different pieces of Internet content. As he implied in a Facebook post, Cruz believes that policy would tie the hands of service providers and blocking innovation.

READ MORE: What does Marco Rubio believe?

Obamacare: Repeal it.

As he displayed in his 2013 23-hour speech on the Senate floor, Cruz is adamantly opposed to the new health care law and wants it repealed in entirety.

Social Issues: Only the four states specifically named in the Supreme Court decision on gay marriage must abide by the ruling. In general, states should be allowed to define “marriage.” There should be strict limits on abortion.

Following the Supreme Court’s decision nationalizing same-sex marriage, Cruz told NPR that only the four states listed in the Supreme Court case (Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee) must abide by the ruling and that other states should ignore it. The Texas senator also said he now wants to abolish lifetime appointment to the court and subject justices to periodic election instead. Cruz believes marriage is between a man and a woman and that states should define the term “marriage” for themselves.

On abortion, the Republican lawmaker has called the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision legalizing the procedure a “dark anniversary” but has not said whether he would specifically work to overturn it. Cruz has staunchly supported bans on any taxpayer funding of abortion and bans of so-called partial birth abortion. He has fervently supported a Texas law that would require doctors at abortion clinics to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital, a requirement that could limit staffing at abortion facilities. That Texas law was ruled unconstitutional by a lower court and is now before the U.S. Court of Appeals.

READ MORE: What does Hillary Clinton believe?

Taxes and the IRS: Move toward a flat tax and abolish the IRS.

Cruz released his tax plan, calling for a “Simple Flat Tax” of 10 percent for all incomes over $36,000 a year (family of four). He would eliminate the Estate Tax and Alternative Minimum Taxes. He would create a flat 16 percent “business flat tax” that would tax consumption. Critics say it is a value-added tax. With a simpler tax code, the senator argues the IRS would be unnecessary and would like to abolish it, as a spokeswoman explained to the Dallas Morning News.

Iran: Increase and toughen sanctions. End current nuclear talks until Congress approves the outlines of a deal.

His approach is summed up in a bill the Texas Senator unveiled last week. You can read Cruz’s “Sanction Iran, Safeguard America Act” here.

READ MORE: What does Bernie Sanders believe?

Islamic State: Don’t send U.S. ground troops, yet. But use overpowering force otherwise, including “carpet-bombing.”

The Texas senator has said he would use air strikes against the Islamic State, including carpet-bombing. Cruz told ABC’s “This Week” in February 2015 that he does not think the U.S. should send ground forces to fight the Islamic State now. But he added that if Kurdish Peshmerga fighters on the ground are unable to combat ISIS, then the U.S. “should” send troops. He also stated that he thinks the U.S. should send arms to Peshmerga forces.