(CNN) – When it comes to finding ways to reduce the federal debt, Sen. Ted Cruz is having a hard time finding anyone to trust.
Speaking on the Senate floor Wednesday, the Texas Republican responded to criticism from members of his party over how to move forward with budget negotiations, taking particular aim at Sen. John McCain.
"The senior senator from Arizona urged this body to trust the Republicans. Let me be clear, I don't trust the Republicans. And I don't trust the Democrats," Cruz said. "And I think a whole lot of Americans likewise don't trust the Republicans and the Democrats because it is leadership in both parties that has gotten us in this mess."
That mess would be the federal debt, which members of both parties agree is too high. The agreement ends when discussing how to reduce it – Republicans favor sharply reducing spending, while Democrats argue for increasing tax revenue.
Under what is termed "regular order" on Capitol Hill, the two chambers each pass annual budgets, which are then negotiated in bicameral discussions. But since the House and Senate haven't both passed budgets in the same year for four years, that process hasn't been followed.
This year, both the GOP-led House and the Democrat-led Senate passed budgets, though they are widely disparate in terms of new tax revenue and government spending.
Some Republicans, like Cruz and Sen. Rand Paul, oppose beginning House and Senate negotiations on the budget until Democrats agree not to demand an increase in the federal debt limit.
McCain, along with moderate GOP Sen. Susan Collins, questioned that stipulation on the Senate floor, saying the demands were unreasonable.
"We put requirements on the conferees that are absolutely out of line and unprecedented," McCain said Tuesday.
But Cruz argued that a budget conference where Democrats insisted on raising the debt ceiling would eventually lead to more spending.
"Every Republican who stands against holding the line here is really saying, let's give the Democrats a blank check to borrow any money they want with no reforms, no leadership to fix the problem. I don't think that's consistent with any of our responsibilities," Cruz said.
Republicans, he continued, shared the blame with Democrats for presiding over runaway government spending.
"Unfortunately one of the reasons we got into this mess is because a lot of Republicans were complicit in this spending spree, and that's why so many Americans are disgusted with both sides of this House," he said.
It's not the first time McCain has pitted himself against Cruz and Paul. The 2008 GOP presidential nominee labeled the duo "wacko birds" earlier this year, not long after Paul's almost-13-hour filibuster protesting the use of drones. Cruz had joined Paul in demanding that the Obama administration answer questions about its drone policies.
And McCain similarly rebuked Cruz for some of his questioning during the nomination hearings for Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.