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. bailee

    I've got it all figured out! Cruz evolved from the 18th Century as a "Whig"!!

    October 6, 2013 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  2. placidair

    The President's not the one who needs raining in Cruz is. The notion that he has the right to control the President is an absurdity, if we wanted him running the country would have elected him president.

    October 6, 2013 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  3. Unknown

    Everything is bigger in Texas...including the idiots!

    October 6, 2013 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  4. DrNo

    Why does this very crazy man get any attention??

    October 6, 2013 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  5. G. from Pennsylvania

    I have a feeling that Ted Cruz is making a lot of Kool-Aid for the Republican party. He would have to be if even John lets go to war McCain even thinks what he is doing is wrong.What this clown doesn't realize is that by screwing the American people as the House is doing, that they will get paid back with votes- and very few of them.And for him to say that far too many people are worried about politics??? Is this guy even on this planet? How about people worried about eating, paying bills and buying infant formula. Ronald Reagan must be turning over in his grave. What a sad disgrace the Republican party is allowing itself to become due to this man and his cronies.They are making us the laughingstock of the world and undermining our national security all for the glory of trying to undo a program that is now law. It boggles the mind.It's almost like this man is deliberately trying to destroy our country.,

    October 6, 2013 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  6. ebciii

    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.

    October 6, 2013 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  7. jg167

    Health care will only get less expensive in the long run if we keep the population healthier and that means letting anyone go to a doctor regularly, not just to the ER, and that means insurance for everyone. Frankly Obamacare did not go far enough, in that we should have gone to a single payer system and gotten rid of private health insurance for basic care. This would not end the private health care system, just private health insurance for basic care.

    Its irrefutable that health care products and services do not follow the supply and demand price curves of other products due to our individual relationship to health care (have you ever responded to a doctors recommendation with "gee is there something that would be less expensive for my insurance company?" ?, no I didn't think think so). That is why the private sector on its own will NEVER be able to provide quality health care at reasonable prices. The prices will always keep rising as adding new resources are added as that in effect creates new demand even when this is past the point that such additional resources have no impact on better health outcomes. Thus without some form of government price controls (could be local not federal) the private sector on its own will continue to raise costs as we will keep buying what they offer. That sucks, but its a fact (check out the Dartmouth Health Atlas if you want to get into it).

    The issue is our long term solvency not the sort term as folks like Cruz are focused on. Is Cruz so uninformed that he does not know the country was headed for financial ruin via rising healthcare costs BEFORE Obamacare? That can not be corrected overnight, but we are more on the right track now than we were before and of course Obamacare can continue to be improved (simplified, more local control etc).. Ending Obamacare and going back to a system we KNOW was failing is no solution, its pure politics. Cruz either does not understand this and hence is just an idiot, or does understand it and is then just a playing politics at the country's expense.

    October 6, 2013 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  8. TN Blue

    Political Terrorism

    October 6, 2013 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  9. anonymous

    Republicans are terrorists! Ted Cruz is a fanatic

    October 6, 2013 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  10. jimatmad

    If Mr Cruz is willing to destroy the American economy and credit rating for personal political gain, he is a traitorous fool.

    If he is not willing to follow through on his threats on the debt ceiling, then he is just a fool.

    October 6, 2013 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  11. Rae

    Well, obviously the old school of thought pleasing everyong keeps getting us into more debt. It's never politically popular to reign in the spending and balance the budget. And unsurprisingly, Cruz is unpopular to many due to his desire to curb our nations out of control spending and reign in our bottomless borrowing mentality. We've got to do something. This increasing trillion dollar deficit is ridiculous. Unless you want to turn over most of your wages so that our goverment programs will financially support every pet project Americans deem important, be willing to put up with the pain of significantly cutting back and not creating more spending programs until we have paid our debts.

    October 6, 2013 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  12. AmericaFirst

    Cruz is the new McCarthy for the new century, disgusting isn't it, him and tea party kooks don't care for all Americans,only their chosen few, when will the public stand up to these nut jobs and tell Cruz have you no shame no decency.

    October 6, 2013 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  13. Nick

    Geeze! Just who is running the Republican party? Do they not understand that booking a seat next to Cruz as he makes his kamikaze dive is not a glorious way to die?

    October 6, 2013 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  14. anthrogirl

    Another Republican temper tantrum. It doesn't affect Cruz one bit. He doesn't understand how this shutdown is hurting people. I'm going to the grocery store today. According to the FDA "91 percent of seafood, 50 percent of fruits and 20 percent of vegetables being imported into the U.S. are going uninspected." Private companies with federal contracts (like Sikorsky Aircraft) are furloughing employees so it's not federal employees that are being affected. Kids in Head Start are out in the cold. Because these kids are losing out on early intervention opportunities, tax payers will have to pay for their additional support services later on. Also, their parents have to come up with temporary day to day childcare for them or stay home from work until this is all over. Many of these families are already at poverty level and republcans are making it hard for them to work.

    October 6, 2013 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  15. Aarky

    Cruz has already haD He

    October 6, 2013 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  16. fredisdead

    this wingnuts will wind up this nation someday!

    October 6, 2013 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  17. Pamela

    Which states are controlled by crazy loony Republican Tea Party? I only know about Kansas. Please fellow people list the rest. Everybody needs to know that everyone needs to vote to get these conniving thieves out of office at the State and Federal level.

    October 6, 2013 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  18. pjoe

    Good job Senator Cruz. Keep speaking the truth. We know the liberal media will try to make you the punch line to their ignorant jokes, but thank you for being willing to be a patriot and tell the truth.

    October 6, 2013 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  19. AngryDave

    The kicker is..he keeps saying the ACA is ruining the country, bankrupting people, killing babies..it hasn't even been fully implemented yet..the sign ups just started..so ridiculous

    October 6, 2013 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  20. jb1963

    These guys will stop at nothing.
    We need to get ALL of texas o vote not just the lazy BBQ sauce snorting white trash.

    October 6, 2013 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  21. Joe Diaz

    I have been a full blooded republican since my birth 46 years ago. Ten years ago I became a hard core supporter for the tea party. Yet after the last week I am disgusted with the tea party and for once in my life time I am embarrassed to be a republican. This entire debt ceiling is a game, both parties suck, and this Cruz guy should be in a state hospital.

    October 6, 2013 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  22. Collie Leroy

    The only people that the private health market is working for are the well off–the ones who make more than a quarter of a million annually. There is not a single Republican who can, or will, offer a single alternative to enable the rest of us to be able to obtain affordable care. The problem with the Tea Party and people like Ted Cruz is that the only thing they want from us is our vote–they don't give a tinker's dam for the folks who work for others and make less than six figures. They would not lower themselves to ride on a city bus with you or me. They certainly don't want our children to go to the same school as theirs. And, most relevant to this discussion, they don't want to see the enormous profits of pharmaceutical and health care providers cut into (no matter how minor, in reality, that would be), nor the green fees of physicians affected by giving the majority of Americans a reasonable and justifiable break. Obamacare is certainly not perfect, but until the Republicans come up with a realistic and affordable plan, voters need to shut them up.

    October 6, 2013 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  23. Hugh_Mann

    anally retentive congressmen should be "reigned in"

    October 6, 2013 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  24. Henryo

    Ted Cruz = Canadian born, Cuban terrorist.

    October 6, 2013 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  25. Former Texan

    ObamaCARE was made into law long before the likes of the Tea Party politicians became aware of it. Ted Cruz was still overcharging and cheating his legal clients when ObamaCare was made into law. My question is: Why is it that corporate lawyers like the Ted Cruzes' all of sudden became so concerned of our national debt? Don't they realize it's the likes of corporate greed that got this country into debt. Corporations pay no or little taxes, corporate CEOs, the common rich people, bought politicians, getting tax breaks or hiding their money under corporate shells overseas, and they are the same ones worried about our nation's running away debt? What's needed here is restructuring of tax system where everyone pay what's fair and square according to their earnings. Do away with credits for profits and losses through investments which are carried over from year to year which the rich carry over from year to year and pay no taxes even as they have gains year after year. Same with corporations, stop giving them tax breaks or subsidizing them unless they start bringing jobs back to this country, or raise the tariffs on all the goods brought back into country by their companies.

    October 6, 2013 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
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