(CNN) - Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas linked raising the debt ceiling to funding the Affordable Care Act in an exclusive interview Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union” with Candy Crowley.
“The debt ceiling historically has been among the best leverage that Congress has to rein in the executive," Cruz said.
He listed three objectives as Republicans approach the debt ceiling.
"No. 1, we should look for some significant structural plan and reduce government spending. No. 2, we should avoid new taxes, and No. 3, we should look for ways to mitigate the harms from Obamacare."
"Since 1978, we raised the debt ceiling 58 times," said Cruz. "Twenty times Congress attached very specific and stringent requirements, many of the most significant spending restraints. So the president's demand to jack up the nation's credit card with no limits, no constraints - it's not reasonable."
The United States will reach its borrowing limit on October 17.
The government temporarily shut down on October 1 after Republicans in the House held up the passage of a spending bill, which would allow the government to pay its bills, in an attempt to get changes or delayed implementation of the Affordable Care Act, President Obama's signature health care initiative.
Cruz is seen by some as the driving force behind the government shutdown, as he has urged fellow Republicans in the House to continue demanding that any plan to fund the government be tied to defunding the president's sweeping health care initiative.
Cruz said that letting Obamacare go further into effect "would destroy the private health care system." He blamed Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for refusing to take up a series of piecemeal bills passed by the House to fund certain parts of the government. Democrats in the Senate and the White House say they will only pass a "clean" spending bill that does not carry restrictions or changes to the health care law.
The tea party favorite has been a target of blame from both Democrats and some Republicans for the shutdown standstill.
"The president and certainly Harry Reid and Senate Democrats have not been shy and using all sorts of inflammatory attacks," Cruz said about receiving criticism from Democrats and some within his own party.
"The fact that you're seeing those attacks, I think, is indicative of the fact that we're winning the argument. Obamacare isn't working."
According to a CBS News poll released this week, 72% of Americans disapprove of the shutdown, and more Americans blame congressional Republicans than blame Obama.
Despite this, Cruz doesn't think his actions have taken a negative toll on his party's image.
"Not remotely," Cruz said. "But I also think far too many people are worried about politics."
Teddy, baby, grow a brain. Your ideas are as close to treason as I can imagine. Idi-bot.
Distract Deflect Deny=Ted Cruz
This is what happens when you give the Republicans ANY power. They abuse it. Ted Cruz is getting away with murder.
Why doesn't Ted Cruz go after every program, law or resolution that congress passed before he was there? According to Cruz anything congress does is temporary and can be repealed if he or his TP doesn't approve of it. By the way, the ObamaCare bill was passed with bipartisan support after many hours of negotiation. Does he have no sense of shame, has he no decency? We the American people have not been held hostage by a congressman like this since McCarthy.
In other words, he wants to use "leverage" (hostage-taking) to get what HE wants again.
Senator Cruz and the Tea Party terrorist are all DEMONIC people sent to destroy America. Candy Crowley, you SUCK as a host....do better and stop eating so much.
The loony republicans think they can use a shutdown as leverage? It's as if republicans ACTUALLY believe republicans are LENDING money to democrats. HELLO? Dear Republicans, the U.S. government has to authorize to allow MORE borrowing from China, who financed George W's 2 wars.
This man is a narcissist. It is all about him, not about the country, his consituents, or even his political party. He doesn't care if we all go over the cliff, if the country is permanently harmed, as long as he gets attention. I pity those who have voted for him. They are anti everything and support nothing. Our country is in danger because of them.
Can he put this terrorist on the a Navy SEAL hit list, which is exactly where he belongs.
Canada: Absolutely no return, refund or exchange.
Cruz is a treasonous, irrational megalomaniac who is trying to bring the American economy down so the TP airheads can recreate America in their image. Boehner will impart a new term in American history. From now on people will be called a "boehner" when they demonstrate no courage whatsoever and are, in fact, cowardly pukes.
Can someone tell Cruz to shut-up and sit down, the adults are trying to talk and he is interrupting.
Cruz is a menace and if the Republicans follow his advice, he will bring this country down.
Ted Cruz was able to overcome the incredibly biased nature of the interview and get his point across. At some point we have to address our debt and out deficit. If not now, when?
Proud to be a Conservative with representation from Ted Cruz.
The Republican party should replace its emblematic elephant with a woolly mammoth. They're headed for extinction.
about the only person believing him is himself when looking in the mirror talking his junk, I live in a 50 unit building and after an informal poll–no one backs him. a lot of folks currently in elected office will not be there after the next election. how goofy is Cruz? he does not know the proper name of the health bill...
Although I find him to be a horrible representation of the GOP and the leader of the radical Tea Party movement, he is very well spoken and eloquent. I don't agree with his methods, but he makes me believe he is fighting for the right change.
Don't worry folks. Cruz, the other Tea Party nut cases and most of the Republicans are going to get thrown out of office in 2014. Watch and wait and see. Let the Republicans continue the obstructions and these extreme traitorous policies. Watch and see what happens in 2014. They are destroying the Republican Party and you know what; I don't care. I used to vote Republican most of my life but I stopped after George Bush Jr and glad I did. We have a great President in President Obama and Hilary will be great also. I can't wait to see these Republican obstructionist get thrown out.
Keep up the heat Ted – I'm pullin for you.
Cruz and the Republicans know that after demonizing Obamacare for three years, once it is up and running - and working - people will realize that which party is looking out for them and which party only cares about millionaires and big businesses. And that will be the end of the GOP. Which is why the GOP is desperately doing whatever it can to prevent Obamacare from being implemented - including crashing the entire American economy.
Cruz is a traitor and a terrorist – he is willing to take down our country for his self aggrandizement.
This man is a traitor. He is an enemy of democracy and an enemy of America. I thought people got sent to Gitmo for this.
This guy went to college? Seriously? And Harvard no less? He is just making things up as he goes along. How has Obamacare failed, already cost so many jobs, a statement he keeps repeating? It does not start until January 2014 and if it has somehow cost jobs already, how come unemployment has been steadily dropping since its inception in 2009? He is just trying to will it to fail. What a negative force in Washington. A narcissistic, ego-driven, chicken little.
Liberals, open your minds for a change and listen to Cruz and get an education about how government is designed to work with the House in control of the purse strings. No president gets to say they won't negotiate, and this is no different regardless of the fact the old media is in their pocket and telling you the House is in the wrong. The media is wrong, the democrat leadership is wrong, and the House is fully in their rights. And they are doing exactly what we elected them to do. If you want to take it to a default that is your choice, but no negotiation is not a solution.
Ted Cruz is a TRAITOR. He finally slipped and revealed his real reason for his hatred of the ACA. HIs masters, the INSURANCE COMPANIES will loose money. He doesn't care that millions can't afford coverage or that we the people pay for the uninsured now with our taxes. The ACA controls the runaway cost of care and control equals less profits for the GREEDY Immoral insurance fat cats. You are a traitor to the country Cruz.