(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."
I truly don't care anymore whether its Democrats, Republicans, Independents, etc anymore.... Its now time for Obama to step in and be a leader. He needs to call for a special joint session of Congress with all members of both the senate and the house and sequester them where no one including himself can leave until all the issues are dealt with and we have a budget passed and the debt ceiling raised.. That's what a leader should do and I am waiting for Obama to do it. I guarantee you if they had to be around each other constantly for 24-48 hours minus breaks I don't blame Obama for this happening.. its the house republicans to me that I think started all this.. but Obama can fix it and look very presidential at the same time.
Thank You Obamacare ! As of October 1st, my elderly mother's Insurance is no longer covering her pain patches she's been using for over 3 years. Well done, way to look after the elderly.
The Speaker of the House is one of the key custodians of democracy. Shutting government to "leverage" is to abandon democracy in favor of extortion. Paying employees not to work to curry political favor is corrupt. Cruz and his tea bags are a disgrace to the people of the U.S.
it is gonna be impossible for Ted Cruz to run for president
even if his threats work in repealing obamacare....
nobody is gonna vote for the guy that said "im gonna use this as leverage" ....even if you like what hes doing....those words just come off as something a creep would say....a person of low morals...who is trying to get one over on someone
the general voter will not trust him ...no matter how many elderly white republicans think he has a chance
look how bad romney got beat.....just wait till a texan like ted cruz tries to run.....he would be destroyed
Nobody sells SNAKE OIL the way Cruz can.
Ted cruz is the biggest domestic terrorist we have..he should be on the most wanted list..let seal team six deliver him to Al Qaeda
To paraphrase a scene from 'Officer and gentleman': 'In Texas they breed only two things: Steers and morons. Which one is he'
Ted Cruz needs to crawl back into whatever mil carton he congealed out of!
You guys are stuck with cruz in the States. Canada will not take him back.
Ted Cruz and the Republican Part are destroying my business. They are hurting America. They are nothing more than domestic terrorists and if the government won't deal with the, the American citizens should take matters into their own hands.
Cruz is RIGHT. The US is spent out and in all fairness, the Obamacare mania should be put on the back burner, until this country can come out of the SPENDING BIPOLAR problems that it is currently experiencing.
People please remember to vote locally. I am not saying Democrats are without fault but the Republican's are crazy! Democrats need to vote locally and during the midterms. The tea party = dixiecrats have taken over the government because too many people who believe government has a place in our society only vote during the Presidential elections. These crazy people who do not like the US have taken over the US. Question. If you do not believe the government has a purpose other than defense do not need to be in the government. Please register for the Selective Services. Oh that's right they only believe in war when its not one of their children. We've become a country of mercenaries and government contractors.
And how will he mitigate the harm the GOP has done to the American people? Probably nothing-he simply doesn't care about you if you don't vote GOP.
ok...all you hear is OBAMA care has to go...and could someone in simple terms explain exactly why? I think 99% of the people saying to get rid of it, don't even know why they are saying that...i sure don't. Do these people understand, we are paying for the care given ALREADY! only we are paying 10 times more since people with no insur go to emergency rooms for a sore throught...for a cost of 1000$ vs a dr visit for 50% costing tax payers and insur premiums to be hit. So what the heck is the problem....oh, good idea, lets shut down the govt, and next default....bright solution....what a bunch of ding bats!( as Archie would say!)
Cruz and Boehner should be prosecuted for failure to do their job. Shutting down the government in NOT their job.
The Republicans voted to increase the debt limit 19 times under the Bush administration.
At the beginning of the Bush presidency, the United States debt limit was $5.95 trillion. Despite promises that he would pay off the debt in 10 years, Bush increased the debt to $9.815 trillion by the end of his term, with plenty of help from the four Republicans currently holding Congressional leadership positions: Speaker John Boehner, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl. ThinkProgress compiled a breakdown of the five debt limit increases that took place during the Bush presidency and how the four Republican leaders voted:
June 2002: Congress approves a $450 billion increase, raising the debt limit to $6.4 trillion. McConnell, Boehner, and Cantor vote “yea”, Kyl votes “nay.”
May 2003: Congress approves a $900 billion increase, raising the debt limit to $7.384 trillion. All four approve.
November 2004: Congress approves an $800 billion increase, raising the debt limit to $8.1 trillion. All four approve.
March 2006: Congress approves a $781 billion increase, raising the debt limit to $8.965 trillion. All four approve.
September 2007: Congress approves an $850 billion increase, raising the debt limit to $9.815 trillion. All four approve.
Database searches revealed no demands from the four legislators that debt increases come accompanied by drastic spending cuts, as there are now. In fact, the May 2003 debt limit increase passed the Senate the same day as the $350 billion Bush tax cuts for the wealthy.
When Bush was in office, the current Republican leaders viewed increasing the debt limit as vital to keeping America’s economy running. But with Obama in the White House, it’s nothing more than a political pawn.
It's clear most people here have no clue how our government works and think anything Dione by a republican from Texas is illegal. It's people like you and the crooks you elect that are ruining this country.
Us tea party Americans will not fade away....deal with us!!!
I hope that Cruz runs for POTUS, he will certainly have my vote.
Let me pay twice as much for obama care than I do now for private insurance.
-said no one ever!
If we could only recall this buffoon! He's a disgrace to Texas and the whole country. Where does he get off threatening the POTUS. This is a dangerous vindictive man.
Cruz is a paid communist agent run by Castro.
We interrupt this broad cast to bring You this breaking news.300 million Americans help hostage by Their Government.Do to Childish in house fighting the Democrats and Republicans the Government is partly shut-down and are heading to default on paying Their bills. Stay tuned to CNN for more details as they become available.
SHAME,SHAME,SHAME Candy Crowley just gave Ted Cruz a half hour of infomercial. She let him lie repeatedly without challenge him ONCE! Funny how she wouldn't let Liu finish a sentence in a previous segment. No secret about her right leaning tendencies. However, her performance today (and the producers of SOTU) was downright shameful. It was so refreshing to hear Fared Zakaria explain the big picture of the republicans holding hostage the American people in 60 seconds on GPS.
I have to agree with NEAL about GERRYMANDERING. Over 200 US districts are SAFE due to the Banana Republicans' Gerrymandering schemes. That means NO Dems will likely ever be elected in those districts for the House. Scary thought. And another thing, WHEN Rafael Cruz runs for Prez, he will have to answer about his father having been a Cuban Communist.