(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."
Gosh, the way Cruz is acting one would think he wasn't born in this country.
There is something dangerous and grossly wrong with having a significant minority of those elected to serve the United States of America and it people decide to threaten and attack the means for our elected government to do the work of this nation, as well as the greater economy, and to do so for political "leverage" when unable to sway enough votes through normal means does not result in their opinions prevailing. What ALL our elected "public servants" should hold in common is the priority of keeping the nation functioning as well as possible. Destroying the government's power to do its important jobs and its credibility in the world, knowingly and as a ploy to win greater political power, is nothing short of treason.
"Harm from Obamacare"??? Isn't it more harmful that I would have to pay 800$/month for decent health insurance after being laid off, rather than the 300$ on healthcare.gov for the same identical policy? We would all be uninsured in the next 5 years if not for the new insurance exchange.
Ted Cruz and the other crazies in his party have all but assured that the GOP will not win the Presidency for several cycles to come. Sure, they may continue to win their congressional races, and in some state legislative races, but they're now even putting statewide and gubernatorial races out of reach with the level of extremism being espoused... all because they cannot get their way.
Obamacare was passed by Congress and upheld by the Supreme Court. It's not up to Congress to try to exercise ANY control over the other branches.
Cruz is an idiot...
Don't like his politics, but he sure is dominating the GOP and the media
Cruz, the SOB, wants to play with fire. Isn't having lost triple A credit rating bad enough for the U.S.? American people collectively have to pay more on interest expense to foreign creditors. The tea party nutcases want to destroy America.
A woman I knew died with breast cancer because her family could not afford healthcare. She did not abuse the system. She didn't even go to seek medical attention due to not having insurance and not wanting to jeopardize their finances. She left behind a husband, two older boys, a toddler, brothers, and parents... I guess the Republicans and the Tea Party are perfectly ok sitting in their gilded cage with health benefits and other benefits courtesy of the taxpayers of America.
How did narrow minded Ted Cruz manage to get so much press? He only represents a very small portion of this country and I am not one of them.
"Narcissistic personality disorder is a condition in which people have an excessive sense of self-importance,an extreme preoccupation with themselves, and a lack of empathy for others." –National Library of Medicine - Lots of Tea, but no empathy.
Cruz and the Republicans don't have the power to do anything.
What a tool.
Thank god we have a sane, smarte educated president in the whitehouse.
Somebody needs to help him with his hair. I can't get past the grease ball look of it.
"Let us not seek the Republican answer, or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future." John F. Kennedy. I wonder if any current members of Congress could read these few eloquent words and actually embrace them.
A canadian shutting down the U.S. government . It's apalling.
"Cruz said that letting Obamacare go further into effect "would destroy the private health care system."
Cruz is in the pockets of the insurance industry which in turn fuels the private health care system. He most probably stands to lose a lot of money and what little integrity he has left now that Obamacare is offically a LAW that he simply doesn't understand. I repeat: IT'S A LAW . . . It's all about themselves with these teabaggers. The teapublicans care for no one but themselves, but the Democrats take care of their own - that's the difference between the two parties. Cruz will be the weapon that will yield the near-fatal blow to that Grand Old-farts Party, but the irony is they did it to themselves when they embraced those irratic, insane teabaggers, thinking they'd win politically. All they've really done is allowed a handful of political lunatics take over their own party. The members of the tea party are a psychiatrist's dream. They must be stopped and I think we can clean house fairly quickly come election time.
"Rein in Obama ..."? How about reining in this knut from Kanada with no birth certificate?
Cruz epitomizes everything that's wrong with Texas, and with politics in general.
This guy is an enemy of the state, nothing more then a terrorist.
Why do people keep voting these criminals in? Do you actually listen to FOX or that fat drug addict with the gold microphone? I have a theory about this. Once you reach a certain age the world starts to pass you by. You quit adapting. You lose touch with reality and start listening to these organization like FOX that target old people. They intentionally target the out of touch, mentally ill, isolated, and old in order to gain ratings.They will tell these people what ever they want to hear and then we wind up with criminals like this in government.
Perhaps it is time to use the electoral process to eliminate the worst threat to the US economy, namely the Tea Party. Because the Teapublicans are safe in their gerrymandered districts, we'll have to eliminate feckless Republican Congressmen in swing districts to achieve this goal. Perhaps this message will prod the moderate wing to stop this insanity, once they realize that they are being branded as irresponsible, dangerous politicians along with the American Taliban wing of their party.
Time to send in the Seals and have them apply duct tape to this terrorist mouth, remove him from his office and send him back Cuba via Canada.
Al Qaeda and the Republican party both have as their core philosophy, the destruction of the American financial system. Both parties are terrorists.
Ted Cruz, you are insane
Meh, paying off the debt is overrated. Do you even know who owns most of America's debt?
Hint: It isn't the Chinese, who only own 8% of our total debt.
Guess what, America and American's own the vast majority of our down debt. Contrary to popular belief, we are still primarily owned by ourselves.
The whole idea of a debt limit is stupid. A limit doesn't really exist if you constantly keep raising it. The debt limit just creates needless panic and financial instability. There are other ways of controlling spending, but refusing to pay what you already borrowed isn't one of them.