(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."
Fear mongering is the Democratic Party's stock in trade....replete with doomsday scenarios – the same ol' stuff of the sequester whose whimper was barely heard. These Dems really do not like negotiating even the worst of legislation they authored.
This man is disgusting. He is willing to use the world economy as leverage for a petty political fight. ACA passed both houses, affirmed by Supremes, won an election, and has already started. If he doesn't like it then he should go through the proper procedure to change it.
My experience with negotiations is that two sides have demands and they reach a compromise. I understand the Republicans want changes to ACA. What is it that the Democrats want?
So in other words, default on our debts, possibly precipitating a global recession, unless Obama caves in and allows your group of losers to get rid of Obamacare................Am I missing something here?
As a Texas Republican I think Ted Cruz is an terrible excuse of an American. He has brain cells missing and is more interested in making the USA like his Cuban homeland.
It is not TRUE that a party has threatened to default on the national debt to achieve legislation (or repeal) that it could not win through the political process.
I also really love this: "But I also think far too many people are worried about politics." So the idea is that those who are opposed to Cruz are supposed to pay attention to other things? Right.
I'm gonna call my credit card company and declare that I'm not paying my bills until my interest rate is lowered, default be damned! Then I'll be just like the Canadian Ted Cruz and the TEA Party! Yes!!!
Cruz and the teapubs don't want to have to pay of med insurance which is what I understand will happen if they can't get rid of ACA–so who cares if they destroy the rest of us in the process
The Tea Baggers days are numbered. GFY
Isn't Cruz the Bozo, who is leading Texas' secession from the Union? I heard he is trying to be part of Mexico?
Blender is going to have to fall on his sword to end the shutdown and he knows it. Hopefully this will end soon and the Republicans need to kick the Tea Party members out of the party. They are clearly not Republican.
"What is our present condition? We have just carried an election on principles fairly stated to the people. Now we are told in advance, the government shall be broken up, unless we surrender to those we have beaten . . . . In this they are either attempting to play upon us, or they are in dead earnest. Either way, if we surrender, it is the end of us, and of the government. They will repeat the experiment upon us ad libitum. . . . [A]nd they can never have a more shallow pretext for breaking up the government, or extorting a compromise, than now."
- Abraham Lincoln
THe Supreme Court has determined that the affordable care laws are legal and valid. Many families will benefit from the virtues of health care reform. Enough is enough GOP. You let your party fall into the quake of the far far right, the sellout corporations, and the Tea Party kooks, so now you can deal with the political fall out.
Get to something more real...like immigration.
Pam in Oregon
OMG Is this guy for real. Is he trying to impress someone. I am thinking Ted needs to be fired, he is playing a dangerous game no one can win. As one person put it, he went to the George W Bush school of logic. I am not against the Republicans or the democrats, but the republicans need to understand that it takes one "Stupid" person to make all republicans look bad.
The real funny part is about 80% of the Republican voters aren't even rich. They don't benefit from these selfish tactics for the rich and themselves. They are actually voting against themselves and America. Google up who is better for the economy. Republicans or Democrats. It's a 7 to 1 ratio in favor of Democrats over the last 100 years. Look at the stock market today compared to 5 years ago even.
At least 2.7 million Americans have given their lives in defense of democracy and many millions more have given blood and family. Boehner's refusal to allow democracy in the peoples House is an act of treason. VOTE ON THE BILL!
Cruz is really becoming quite tiresome with his senseless plan to de-fund Obamacare. Boehner has already played his hand by stating he will not let the government default. What do Republicans have left in the way of leverage? Cruz is supposed to be a brilliant lawyer although it's impossible to know from his reckless behavior.
So he is admitting that they(republicans) ARE the ones that caused the shutdown, and they will use it as a bargaining tool to destroy the ACA, yet, he says that it was the democrats who caused the shutdown. Well folks, there you have it!
Everyone is so used to goverment handouts that anyone that tries to slow them down is considered a traitor. What about the 17 trillion debt? Why should my kids pay for your stupidity.
Agreed that these Tea Party sociopaths should be voted out, but that may be hard to do. The Republicans have so gerrymandered the districts and worked so hard to put voter suppression in place in as many states as possible that it may be next to impossible to dislodge the monsters they have helped create. They are ruthless, shrewd and well-funded and have no compunctions about putting the country on it's knees. They and their well-heeled overlords are also very good at appealing to our worst natures – our fear of gay marriage, other-than-while skin, and independant women – to convince certain firghtened voters – the ones they let vote – to put them in control. I think ultimately they may be shocked at the disaster created by their reckless behavior, but by then it will be too late. I want to think there's a way to turn this around, but right now it looks pretty bleak.
The U.S. has a policy not to negotiate with terrorists. Why should it change that?
Boehner – correction
Well, so that means Cruz doesn't want the average person to "worry" about politics? Should we just let politicians politicize however they want? Who reins in Congress?
Both parties need to realize they are elected politicians and the American voters will not forget how they easily played games with the livelihood of those who helped elect them. In my opinion, every politician who voted to Shutdown the Federal Government, should not be reelected. Research what the Shutdown cost every American taxpayer and the factor in the lack of government services. It may not be obvious today, but it will ultimately cost taxpayer's more money in the future.
Honestly this guy should be considered a terrorist.