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. SeattleReign

    ACA is a done deal. People have waited long enough for this and have already signed up. The GOP has made their sole raison d'etre to bring down health care, and they have repeatedly lost, even in the Supreme Court. Now Cruz thinks he can use default as a bargaining chip?? Yeah, he's a prince alright. Who is it that can't see he's trying to court the 2016 crowd? He's desperate enough to put the entire economic future of the U.S. on the chopping block to accomplish his own selfish goals. WHERE are the moderates in his party? WHERE? Come on, Republicans, TAKE BACK YOUR PARTY!

    October 6, 2013 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  2. 22

    Ted Cruz sounds like Bashar Assad of Syria."We're winning "even though real people's lives are being affected by the shutdown,"stand your ground" even though his selfish and narrow minded views threaten to hurt the nation and the whole world.He's reckless,irresponsible and narcissistic.Hiw do you go from wanting to prevent people from having health insurance to letting the country go into a default and call yourself fiscally responsible?This man will drag us into a financial meltdown just like they did in 2008 if we don't do something..Call,email your congress men ,tell them to push against Cruz Boehner et al..........

    October 6, 2013 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  3. JakeF

    Inflation. How does it work? Are some of you saying that the debt ceiling should be at the same level it was twenty years ago? Sure. I'd like to pay the same for my cable and phone bill today as I did in 1993, but reality calls... things cost more today.

    /oh, and we've already received the services, now it's time to pay the bill

    October 6, 2013 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  4. Dave

    Blaming someone else for overspending when it is the role of Senator Cruz and his fellow legislators to manage the countries finances is really strange, does Senator Cruz understand the role of Congress? If Congress wants to cut spending in the face of a Presidential veto it can, assuming enough members vote for the measure. The problem is that none of our legislators really want to make the very painful decisions about what to cut.

    The President is not the problem it's a dysfunctional Congress that seems totally unable to make a decision on what to do not only to resolve the current crisis but to address the Federal deficit.

    October 6, 2013 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  5. Lainie11

    Great job, Senator Cruz!

    October 6, 2013 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  6. mary

    I believe the Rep. are fighting so hard to debunk obamacare not because they believe it will hurt the country but because they are afraid it might work, if they think its going to destroy the country, let it then they can have that "I told you so" moment!!

    October 6, 2013 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  7. jamesww7

    If a middle east politician said similar things he would be branded as a terrorist. How does being insane and elected from Texas make it less terrorism? He can destroy the GOP if they let him, but not the country and possibly world economy.

    October 6, 2013 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  8. tcman

    worst interview ever.. never asked Cruz why he blocked the 2 houses going to conference the last 6 monts

    October 6, 2013 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  9. Richard Crutchfield

    So am I confused or is the senator? Congress says what we are spending stuff on – so the executive branch is not responsible for debt. Congress is? And we get this crap from a senator aspiring to be a president?

    October 6, 2013 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  10. FreeAmEriCa

    I got a simple solution, fire both leaders of both parties. Get a responsible, grown-up leadership, instead of irresponsible children who doesn't understand what hell they are doing or how to compromise. They are suppose to represent the people, for the people. All that has been shown is, their are hurting the American people, destroying our countries good name, and are doing what they want. Pathetic!!

    October 6, 2013 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  11. Name elly

    Ted Cruz is no better than a common criminal
    He and his coherts making cuts that effect.common people who work hard for low pay but he getting a paycheck. Being backed up by
    Millionaires who founded tea party. His motive is $$$$ that he is putting in his
    Pocket. Wake up smell the tea

    October 6, 2013 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  12. tcman

    worst interview ever...never asked why Cruz block conference between houses for last 6 months

    October 6, 2013 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  13. manlian

    The only reason Obama is president is because he got the millions of illegals to vote him in. Therefore anything he does is not legitimate.

    October 6, 2013 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  14. JohnRJohnson

    This is what's in the law that Mr. Cruz wants to take away from Americans:

    1. Requirement that forces insurers to spend at least 80% of what they collect in premiums on actual medical care for policyholders, rather than the 66% they had been paying.

    2. Forbids any insurer from denying coverage based on a pre-existing condition.

    3. Forbids any insurer from canceling a policy simply because a policyholder filed a claim.

    4. Requires justification for any rate increases.

    5. Allows families to keep adult children 26 and younger on their family policy.

    6. Provides low-cost coverage to millions of families who could not afford any coverage under the old system and had to rely on emergency rooms for routine medical care (which we all were paying for).

    7. Provides FREE wellness programs with no co-pay which will result in a healthier society and lower health care costs.

    8. Makes sure that women will not be charged higher premiums simply because they are women. (Previously, being female was considered a pre-existing condition).

    9. Rewards doctors and hospitals for good patient outcomes, rather than incentivizing unnecessary testing without regard to outcome.

    10. Reduces the debt over the next 10 years while putting downward pressure on rates.

    11. Creates "marketplace" insurance exchanges where individuals and small businesses can take advantage of the lower rates previously offered only to larger groups.

    12. Closes the 'donut hole' in Medicare Care Part D which was costing seniors hundreds of dollars per year on their prescription drugs.

    13. Eliminates lifetime or annual caps on coverage so that families of patients with chronic diseases or disabilities won't go bankrupt keeping them alive.

    14. The law compels insurers to spend at least 80% of what they collect in premiums on actual medical care, rather than the 66% they've been accustomed to paying.

    October 6, 2013 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  15. madrogio

    Let's try it again!
    Dishonorable Cruz:
    I would like to use you as 'leverage' also. Septic tanks need stirring. You, as stirring stick, can help separate the liquid from the solid. Do drink the liquid as my toast to you. Do skim off the solid as the essence of your beliefs. Do experience a slow, agonizing death as befits all seditous pieces of excrement. Oh, and have a nice day! Can I be serious? Should you watch your back? LOL!

    October 6, 2013 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  16. AMERICAFIRST

    I really believe this foreigner, Ted Cruz, is a paid operative sent to destroy america. He's succeeding. He and his anarchist rabble, the tea party are about to default the USA.

    October 6, 2013 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  17. michael smith

    Traitor!

    October 6, 2013 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  18. MiddleoftheRoader

    If the U.S. defaults because of Mr. Cruz's strategy, then we should immediately insist upon his impeachment from the Senate.

    October 6, 2013 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  19. Ron L

    Please relay this to Ms. Crowley. For the number of years she has done this job she is just like Mr. Wolf Blitzer, they both allow their "guest" to talk over them and take control of the conversation. There were so many points "perspectives", brought up by Senator Cruz that were patently attempts of misdirection that Ms. Crowley just accepted without strong rebuttal. How do I, a citizen that only spends about 2 hours a day gathering news have a better command of the types of question that Senator Cruz should have to answer? It is so disappointing to watch these politician wiggle and ignore questions by answering with talking points that are fundamentally untrue!! Ms. Crowley needs to step up her game and improve her interview skills (she could learn from Jon Stewart) or make room for someone else to get the chance.

    October 6, 2013 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  20. 3doorsdown

    I don't understand why t v stations continue to interview these clowns. On CNN this past week, Wolf Blitzer talked with the idiot, michelle bockman. Let faux news talk with them....these people have little to say, why give them any air time? .

    October 6, 2013 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  21. Thaddius

    Just clarifying: The fact is, folks like Ted Cruz do not live in the same reality that the rest of the world does. You can't spew lies and hatred, then say "OH YOU MUST BE A LIBRUL" when someone calls you out on your lies and hatred. This has been the GOP/TP method of operation for too long, and people are getting tired of it.

    October 6, 2013 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  22. Fish

    They flat out admit they are doing what they are doing for themselves to gain political leverage to get what THEY want, not what is best for this country. Quit playing your stupid political games and do what is right for this country not your personal interest.

    October 6, 2013 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  23. Common Sense

    We stand with you Ted Cruz!

    October 6, 2013 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  24. AMERICAFIRST

    Ted Cruz needs to show his birth certificate just to have this discussion. And once we see he's a foreigner, probably paid by China to destroy America, sent packing back to where he came from.

    October 6, 2013 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  25. Jeffi

    Old Ted isn't satisfied with the mess he encouraged in the House so now he wants to pour more sand in the gears. Well, Ted. Have at it and let us see the mess you get us into.

    October 6, 2013 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
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