October 6th, 2013
11:16 AM ET
6 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 (1,411 Responses)
  1. Julie

    These Tea Partiers are frightening in their delusions. They have more in common with angry, selfish insurgent groups whose greatest pleasure is to destroy than with patriots. I really think these people would love to see armed conflict against the government. Beware Amarica – these people are doing what the white supremacists have been wanting to do for years.
    this is senseless. Fighting over a HEALTH CARE PLAN?? One that a lot of people seem to like and need )well the ones who need it, like it) And besides – isn't requiring people to buy health insurance a way of making them take responsibility for themselves? Isn't this one of the GOPs favorite themes and accusations against others? You'd think they'd be happy.
    But no, there's this BLACK guy in the WH...
    Obama isn't the greatest Prez in US history, but he has to be one of the most put-upon and lied about. He must also be a glutton for punishment, taking on the financial mess that Bush/Cheney left. If I were him, I'd have let Hillary have it and bided my time.
    In the meantime – don't appease the Tea Partiers. They truly ARE snakes – of the kind whose heads need to be trodden on hard.

    October 6, 2013 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  2. bill

    The "go to" game plan of the GOP – when all the spewing of hate and fear no longer works, then resort to holding America hostage

    October 6, 2013 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  3. Tom

    That anyone thinks that this person is good for our country is nuts. His wife works at goldman saks, what does that tell you. You know the company that was mostly responsible for the complete undoing of the stock market and the crash of our economy

    October 6, 2013 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  4. parag

    Ted Cruz and his band of right wing Political terrorists attempting to destabilize our country iinto anarchy is TREASON. I hope he is impeached. One positive thing about this whole mess is that Ted Cruz has just put the foundations of his downfall and hopefully Texas will become a blue state.

    October 6, 2013 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  5. Aepied

    I run a small lawfirm and farm with 2-3 employees. Our health care rates DECLINED under the affordable care act AND my farm employees can FINALLY get affordable health care. As a taxpayer, I am TIRED of paying my taxes for critical care for uninsured people. So tell me why this is bad???? The shutdown is a nightmare – many people have no income, cannot pay for food or grocery – no warning this was going to happen. It is inexcusable.

    October 6, 2013 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  6. Michael Hobart

    And this idiot wants to be President? What a great example of leadership, he will first stop the government from fully operating, then hold the full faith and credit of the United States hostage unless he gets his way. What a brat.

    October 6, 2013 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  7. KPMCO

    These kinds of comments are really the affirmation that House Republicans are the cause of the current government "shutdown" and the reason it continues. No matter how you slice things, Cruz has verified that he has an agenda of doing anything he can to dismantle the Affordable Care Act...even if it means keeping the government in shutdown mode. Offering any "piecemeal" legislation for funding does not counteract those actions, nor does it absolve him and those in his party from those actions.

    Also I would comment that the actions of House Republicans have opened the "Pandora's Box" for similar actions in the future from any significantly large political block. Republicans cannot and should not ever in the future condemn any person or group from using this tactic to dismantle any piece of legislation that they propose or pass in the future. This will always and forever be on them.

    October 6, 2013 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  8. FedtheHellUp

    Where is George Zimmerman when you really need him?

    October 6, 2013 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  9. ZYX

    Ted Cruz should be arrested for planning to harm the US.
    Defaulting on US debt would do as much harm as terrorist attacks!

    October 6, 2013 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  10. Keith TX

    This man should be locked up for treason.

    October 6, 2013 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  11. Lsteel

    What planet is Cruz living on, that he wants to save the health care system we have now?

    And he worries about the dangers of Obamacare, but shutting down the government and not paying our bills is probably more destructive in the long run.

    Thanks a lot, Mr. Cruz.

    October 6, 2013 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  12. DonN

    Deport that Canadian – send him back today!

    October 6, 2013 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  13. Dr. Denmark

    It's extreme politics that has led us to this. First, Obama rammed Obamacare down our throats without anyone being able to stop him or at least propose moderation and counterproposals. The political process failed us then when it allowed one party to rule undeterred for two years. Obama has also been able to skate by on nothing more than lofty speeches and inaction. (Notice the lack of action on reigning in the debt, failure to achieve international success with Syria, misinformation of Benghazi, other international blunders, etc.)

    Now, radicals on the other end are rising up to challenge him and are using extreme strategies to do so because they believe they honestly cannot compromise with such a one-sided politician in office.

    For the sake of America, we need more moderates and more compromise.

    October 6, 2013 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  14. Anonymous

    "Senator wants to 'rein in' Obama"

    cruz is a habitual liar. He's a junior member and the party leadership needs to slap him down or be willing to follow him over the cliff. Clearly, he is campaigning from his elected office.

    October 6, 2013 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  15. Sue Frasier

    This whole affair in Washington is a racial hate crime directed at the Obama family. The news media would do well to STOP playing into it like it is something valid when it isn't. This is all about personal hate and nothing else and the jealousy of the successes by a Black president who is far more intelligent than any one group of them in the Repulsive Party put together.

    October 6, 2013 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  16. Tom Blier

    Not trying to be a trouble maker, but anyone ever think about considering Jeffrey Lacker as candidate for the next Fed Chairman?

    October 6, 2013 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  17. Michael

    Cruz is a big mouth idiot who will never be president he's just a male version of Sarah Palin once he gets thrown out of office hell make millions on Fox News just like Huckabee

    October 6, 2013 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  18. A

    Is it possible to fire Ted Cruz from office? Not only is he stabbing his political party in the back, he's incompetent and he is incapable of compromising because of his overly inflated ego. I understand that he's a n00b senator, but that's no excuse for his childish actions and ridiculous speeches where he quotes Dr. Seuss' famous story, Green Eggs and Ham (oh the irony), imitates Darth Vader, and thanks Ashton Kutcher for inspiring him. This man is an all-around embarrassment. He criticizes everything Obama does but offers no real solution of his own. He's like a toddler who's mad he can't get the candy he wants. Fire him.

    October 6, 2013 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  19. Junaita

    90% of Americans don't take this Teahadist, (Senator Cruz) serious anymore. The GOP is on a path to destruction and they have no way out, they have no ideas, no platform. Can't wait till 2014 and 2016, the Republicans are loosing it base in America, what happen in California is going to happen in Washington.

    October 6, 2013 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  20. bill

    Hey America I feel your pain, I'm from Texas and none of us now how Cruz got elected or why he is associating himself with our State. The GOP has been pretty good at disenfranchising our voters and redistricting our precincts so it's possible that only one county from East Texas was able to vote Cruz in as our senator. Either way, all Texans feel the same way as the rest of America and wish Cruz would go crawl back into a hole somewhere in Canada and leave our state and Country the hell alone!!

    October 6, 2013 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  21. hankyknot

    What I don't understand is that for months they have been spouting how a system that hadn't even started wasn't working and was hurting americans. Every time forecasted rates were released they were lower than the previous forecasted rates. I find it ironic that as a member of the senate, with the best healthcare package in the US he is so against other people getting healthcare too. Having grown up in a country with free healthcare it mystifies me that people would not want such a thing for their fellow man, I just don't get it.

    October 6, 2013 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  22. Dave

    Republicans are incapable of doing the most basic job Congress has. This is what happens when really, REALLY stupid people vote.

    October 6, 2013 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  23. dichotomous

    OK, let's leverage, starting with some real stiff gun control laws, and how about we never have to hear the words Keystone Pipeline ever again, and maybe through in some stiff regulation for Fracking waste water? How do those terms hit you?

    October 6, 2013 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  24. Josh Daver

    Hopefully, it is these few courageous folks like Sen. Ted Cruz that will keep the US Dollar as the world's currency.
    IIf Obozo and his folks continue printing money as they have been to get votes, it is just a matter of time before the US goes in default.

    October 6, 2013 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  25. Clearandpresentdanger

    I am sick of the Republican Party led by e Tea Party using economic terrorism to attempt to change laws in which they don't have the votes to pass on their own. If you want to change laws, win elections. Unfortunately, they know they can't do that so they are willing to use burnt earth tactics to get their way. Fine, declare the Tea Party a "Clear and Present Danger" to the security of the United States. Next, use the Patriot Act to round up all of the Tea Pary fanatics and send them to Gauntanimo with the other terrorists. Have the governors of the impacted states send new members to congress until emergency elections can be held. Finally, prosecute those in Guantanimo as traitors to the United States.

    October 6, 2013 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
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