October 6th, 2013
11:16 AM ET
12 months ago

Cruz: Use debt ceiling debate for leverage

(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."


Filed under: Government Shutdown • national debt • Ted Cruz
soundoff (1,410 Responses)
  1. detadman

    Wow. Look up clueless in the dictionary, and Cruz's picture will be right there. The final quote, about too many people caring about politics, is priceless! Wish I could lie that well with a straight face. Man must be brutal at the poker table.

    October 6, 2013 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  2. Kieran

    Sorry but the only way to change laws you don't like is to win elections. Obama won the election and you lost. In our democracy, that means that it is his right to pass his agenda.

    October 6, 2013 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  3. Ordnry1

    "No. 1, we should look for some significant structural plan and reduce government spending." I agree.
    "No. 2, we should avoid new taxes" I don't entirely agree. The wealthiest 1% should pay higher taxes.
    "No. 3, we should look for ways to mitigate the harm for Obamacare."
    What harm? Please list the pros and cons. Obamacare or Affordable Care Act will benefit many Americans who lack insurance. Don't say that the GOP is doing better in terms of health care for all Americans. The majority of the Americans approve Obamacare. You talk about ways to eliminate waste. What did GOP just do? You agreed on paying 800,000 federal workers back pay for NOT WORKING. Isn't it waste? It's not the workers' fault they are out of work. They want to go back to work. And GOP solution is to pay workers for not working. What kind of message are you sending? How can we the people trust GOP? Just because you have been in the Senate for a year (almost) doesn't mean that you know everything and that you can solve everything. You just came on board and make a mess of everything.

    October 6, 2013 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  4. TedCruzsGoodTwin

    "Keep talking Teddy. Keep talking!"

    -Hillary Clinton

    October 6, 2013 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  5. cacique22

    here's a guy who throws rocks and then runs away and slithers to harass another day.

    October 6, 2013 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  6. Gary

    Cruz is a great example of the type of person ruining the Republican Party. His actions and the actions of a few others will turn the Republican Party into an after thought. Leaders of the Republican Party need to get these types under control or there will be no party left or at least no significance to them anymore.
    Take away the gerrymandering and I don't think they would have much control to begin with.

    October 6, 2013 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  7. Will

    Far to many people are worried about politics? How about a lot of us are worried about politicians that haven't got a clue. An example is the Republican party so far has followed his advice, how's that working out for them?

    October 6, 2013 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  8. Missourian

    Ted Cruz is attempting to form his own government on our soil. Boehner seems afraiid there will be no place for him in this NEW government.

    October 6, 2013 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  9. Gregory

    Harm from a national health care system? These republicans are fooling themselves. It looks just like one of their "good for the country taxes". They just don't like that the democrats stole their idea from Mitt.

    October 6, 2013 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  10. empathy4us

    There is a fundamental problem with Cruz's position. ACA is actually a good thing: 1) it saves billion in our national debt and deficit (CBO report) 2) it provides healthcare to an additional 31M Americans (21M will pay around $100 a month) 3) it keeps premiums at about what they would have been without ACA (where it is higher its because there is better/more coverage) 4) it reduces out-of-pocket expenses for many 5) since enactment in 2010 it has reduced the increase in health care costs to their lowest levels in 50 years 6) it is not socialist (insurance provided by private carriers not the government) 7) more Americans support it than oppose it (43% oppose, 31% support and 20% want it to go farther – so 51% like it or want it expanded)! 8) every developed nation provides health insurance for all of its citizens. They all have better infant mortality rates, half have better life expectancy and all spend less per patient. Facts matter and the GOP has never produced a plan where all Americans can obtain health insurance.

    October 6, 2013 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  11. ronald raygun

    he thinks far too many people are concerned with politics..... passive aggressive terrorist

    October 6, 2013 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  12. Nick

    My God, Ted Cruz is fundamentally destroying America...

    October 6, 2013 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  13. fekt

    the debt ceiling has historically been the best leverage to reign in the executive? if history started about 5 years ago, then sure. if not you need to hit the books again. he even looks like a dirtbag. seriously would you buy a used car off this man?

    October 6, 2013 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  14. agathokles

    Raising the debt ceiling is so the gov't can pay the bills Congress has already racked up. I'm all in favor of cutting gov't spending, but the way to do that is not to spend. Congress is essentially saying "we spent too much and now we don't want to pay our bills." If Cruz wants to rein in spending, then rein in spending.

    October 6, 2013 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  15. ASH

    Mr. Curz needs to be careful as his career migh be shortlived in his current position. People are paying attention to this matter.

    October 6, 2013 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  16. Suresh Chari

    GOP = Goner Old Party, thanks to the shameful, self-serving, evil actions of such extremist "Sentor"s. DISGUSTING.

    October 6, 2013 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  17. MaryM

    Cruz is a fraud. The is what one Senator called him. He keeps digging that hole and anyone that follows him will have a free ride into the abyss.

    October 6, 2013 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  18. MMCinMPLS

    Cruz said that letting Obamacare go further into effect "would destroy the private health care system
    It is already bad by any measure of outcome or economics. As usual, no proof statement from this idiot

    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
    A Master at shifting the blame. Public is so outraged this idiot wants to pass legislation that narrowly focus's on area's of the government, that will get the most sympathy. Simply put he and Jim DeMint, his puppet master, miscalculated, and like most bullies and cowards, now is trying to figure out how to back down.

    October 6, 2013 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  19. GonzoinHouston

    Yikes! The difference between the shutdown and failing to raise the debt ceiling is like the difference between a 4-year-old having a temper tantrum, and the same 4-year-old having the same tantrum but with a loaded gun in their hands.

    October 6, 2013 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  20. rick 7903

    This is what happens when all you do is talk to and listen to people who agree with you. In your mind you create an alternate reality.

    October 6, 2013 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  21. Andrew Vrba

    Go back to Canada, Cruz.

    October 6, 2013 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  22. J

    "But I also think far too many people are worried about politics.", said the politician. Said another way, "Don't look at me!"

    October 6, 2013 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  23. Laura Di

    Blackmail, extortion, hostage-taking and brinksmanship are the tools of terrorists, not legislators. Arrest him . Put them all in jail.

    October 6, 2013 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  24. Anonymous

    He better start getting worried . Polls have shown that 72% of the electorate do not want a shut down or default and it is putting the house majority republicans at high risk . I guess it shows the people are'nt as stupid as republicans thought .

    October 6, 2013 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  25. mlwells

    The Dems' refusal to pass a clean funding bill without defunding the ACA is no more "unreasonable" than a minority of the GOP shutting down the government – putting hundreds of thousands of Americans out of work (MOST of whom will NOT be paid retroactively once the shutdown is over), threatening the financial security of seniors, veterans and the unemployed, threatening to cut off food stamps which ensure millions of children receive nutritious meals daily – for the goal of defunding/repealing the ACA because THEY believe it will harm the economy! The ACA will assist millions of uninsured an opportunity – many for the first time – to access affordable health care insurance, enabling them to present at physicians' offices for wellness checks, preventative tests, etc. (access physicians NOT their local emergency rooms at a cost 4-5 times higher than a physician's visit – costs which the taxpayers/insureds pick up). I would rather subsidize the health care INSURANCE (letting the INSURER pick up the costs of the health care) than subsidize the health care! It's a matter of simple mathematics ... subsidizing the insurance is less costly than subsidizing the health care.

    October 6, 2013 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
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