October 6th, 2013
11:16 AM ET
10 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. David Cramer

    Moderate Republicans need to give this guy his "Et tu, Brute?" moment (no, not literally).

    The man has already trapped the House Republicans in a no-win fight with the President over the continuing resolution, now he seems intent on doing the same with the debt limit. I guess his theory is that if Obama blinks, he can say it was his idea to oppose Obama, and if the plan blows up in the House's face, he can remind everyone he's a member of the Senate. The Republican Party needs to expel this man from their party before he brings them all down with our economy.

    October 6, 2013 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  2. em_deville

    It's no coincidence that the most irrational and hard lined Rethuglicans are from heavily gerrymandered districts and are pretty much guaranteed reelection no matter what happens.They have nobody to answer to except the obscenely wealthy puppet-masters hiding behind the curtains who bought them off.

    October 6, 2013 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  3. OCCUPY WALLSTREET FOREVER

    There really shouldn't be an argument over this.

    If the republicans really want to remove Obamacare, then all they need to do is WIN SOME ELECTIONS.

    Prove to people how bad it really is so they vote for you to get rid of it. Holding the budget and country hostage is nothing more than an act of financial terrorism.

    October 6, 2013 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  4. Scott

    Republicans are in a sorry state. Obama is calling Boehner and Cruz's bluff. The Republicans have a losing hand and don't know when to fold. The 2012 elections covered this issue both in terms of ACA and the national debt. Obama won and Republicans lost. Doubling down on a losing bet is just stupid. Wall Street is not going to get a bailout this time for a self inflicted wound.

    October 6, 2013 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  5. Tracy

    I not left or right. Why is it so unacceptable to insist upon spending cuts when we've raised our debt to a level that is crazy dangerous? Isn't it true that the healthcare initiative is more than we can afford? Can't we look at a way to trim back the fat, either with the health care program or elsewhere? I don't see how we can waste time blaming anyone for where we are... what we need to do is agree to less spending before we increase debt again. My family cuts spending and would never increase debt to accommodate a lax budget. Why can't our leaders do the same for our country?

    October 6, 2013 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  6. GottaBeKidding

    How many people actually heard of or paid any attention to the debt ceiling before Pres. Obama was elected? The GOP is taking something that was routinely approved by Democrats and Republicans and suddenly making it this horrible thing! Wake up people...this is about POWER and CONTROL...not about what is best for America!

    October 6, 2013 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  7. Winston Smith

    The next election may see many republicans, with crocodile tears running down their faces. At least it's hopeful, as of now.

    October 6, 2013 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  8. Siestasis

    Ted Cruz's motto IT IS ALL ABOUT ME. The man is a disgrace to our government.

    October 6, 2013 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  9. Just sayin'

    And Candy Crowley, Shame on you. I will never see you in the same light. I had so much respect for you. And CNN why don't you beat the streets and get opinions from actual ppl instead of these endless polls that can be twisted to fit anyone's itinerary? Maybe you need to get out of Washington and spend a little time on Main Street too before these home-grown terrorist destroy our Great Country!? There are no winners in this scenario. Im sure you'll still have plenty to report. Don't let it be our downfall that makes your headlines.

    October 6, 2013 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  10. Jim

    Thanks Mr. Cruz. Just another nil in the republicans coffin. Good luck with your political career.

    October 6, 2013 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  11. xianwu

    Too much focus is on one prize today. What’s really at stake is our manner of governing. Do you really want government run by threats of national destruction if demands are not met? If you win this prize, what prizes will be proposed later, and by whom? Demands will ultimately escalate until one is too great, so destruction is inevitable. Measure your prize against that.

    October 6, 2013 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  12. elvislevel

    I have been watching Republicans wrap interviewers around their finger for weeks on this. For God's sake will somebody please just ask,

    "What makes a hostage negotiation different from a normal one is that in exchange for what you want you offer only something you both want. In this case you make an enormous request from the Democrats, repeal or delay of Obama-care, in exchange for what?"

    Democrats are the ones controlling 2/3 of the government. If anybody should be using the debt limit for "leverage" why isn't it them?

    October 6, 2013 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  13. Marie MD

    Why is anyone inviting this Canadian terrorist on any show?
    This terrorist is destroying our country. Did the Canadians out him up to it? The Cubans?
    He needs to be stopped NOW. Throw him out on his bony behind and lock the Capitol door.
    Our pensions, 401Ks will be gone, our credit rating as s a country will free fall, we will lose what we have gained since 2009, unemployment will continue to increase.
    This is what we want for our country? A Canuck leading us to oblivion? Waiting until 2014 will be too late!!!

    October 6, 2013 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  14. orang

    I am glad that we should default and let America crashed and burn. We spend too much money on Republican wars like Iraq and Afghanistan, a total of 3 Trillions. We support Israel, 10-15B, Pakistan 2B, Egypt 2B...What else.We can't afford it.. Foreigners has been funding the wars....We can't even pay workers a living wage! We are Broke yet we use Foreign money to build the wars ships that we can even afford.

    October 6, 2013 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  15. bdby

    Well if this is any indication of Obamacare my wife just did her benefits for the coming year. I am on those benefits. Obama keeps saying things are going to get less expensive then it begs the question why then did my wife’s vision and dental triple in price?
    Obamacare is a disaster in the making and I I think the Republicans should hold their ground in not funding this badly formed law.

    October 6, 2013 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  16. abbydelabbey

    Cruz would sell his soul to be president and apparently he is willing to sell the American people down the river just to make a name for himself. Would someone please tell his spoiled rotten brat to grow up?

    October 6, 2013 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  17. jimranes

    It's time to exit the stock markets. Rafael Cruz aka "Ted Cruz" is a Cuban Canadian US Senator who is willing to destroy the US economy to defund a US law, the Patient Protection and Affordable Healthcare Act. Cruz is an anarchist and should be arrested and charged with treason.

    October 6, 2013 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  18. 1noone1

    The tea party has caused more harm to the USA than Al Qaeda did on 9/11

    October 6, 2013 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  19. shamgar50

    Baggers don't want to face the consequences of their actions. That's why they keep coming up with these partial funding measures. Democrats shouldn't pass any of these jokes. Let everyone see the grief they've caused.

    October 6, 2013 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  20. NameDon Hill

    DMR said it better than anyone. I'm 77years old and this person is the most intelligent writing person I've read. He/She understands completely, what caused this mess, and has the solution to Social Security future problems. Don't know this person, but would vote for them, for any national political office.

    October 6, 2013 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  21. AnUnknownSource

    This guy has yet to substantiate any of his claims about the ACA with any facts. The reality is that he and the other tea-baggers are afraid of the ACA succeeding. I wonder how many of these people who have been severly misled will be as outspoken about how wrong they were as they are now about something they know very little about.

    October 6, 2013 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  22. emsmom

    Everyone – start moving your 401Ks to safe secure funds right now...at least until after 10/17...I fear we'll be losing as much as we did back in 2008!

    October 6, 2013 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  23. Texas voter

    I did not vote for Ted Cruz.

    Ted worked for the Federal Trace Commision at one time, then he was in private practice and served as a counsel for a Chinese company which was slapped with $26M judgment for an Intelectual Property theft.

    Yeah he is lurking in Capitol now.

    October 6, 2013 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  24. The Thinker1958

    is called BLACK MAIL what Ted Cruz is doing. The debt ceiling shouldn't be a topic to be discussed. Is amazing that everybody else is paying attention to this guy.

    October 6, 2013 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  25. Sandy

    Boehner and Cruz's careers are what should be on the line! They claim they want to talk but then make all these unrealistic demands.

    October 6, 2013 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
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