(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."
I'm a Republican and DON'T WANT A GOP VICTORY. What most Republicans want is both parties to COMPROMISE on two things; Obamacare provisions and the Debt Ceiling. Make GOOD CHANGES to Obamacare ( i.e. come up with a plan covers all Americans and pre-existing issues) that the GOP can live with and make smart decisions on Raising the Debt ceiling that equates to REDUCING OUR OVERALL DEBT. If these two things can not be met, then we all best move our 401K's and annuities into really safe investments, because it could be a rough road. If DB Obama sticks to his my way or the high way, get ready!!!
Listen to what Ted Cruz is telling the Republican Party – Bring the United States Government to its knees. That is what Al Qaeda stated it wants to do. Cruz is just doing their bidding. Of course, even the so-called moderate Republicans like Sen Collins votes the way Cruz tells her to vote. The Republican Party is truly bankrupt.
Death of the Republican party.
The Tea Party just slit your throat, and you are too stupid
to see it.
This is financial terrorism at its worst.
Democrats in the Senate should refuse to ratify anything from the House unless we ban all amunition sales and all firearms except muskets. They can hold America hostage to satisfy the radicals on the far-left. Isn't that what Cruz is recommending?
Mr. Cruz is like so many other politicians only thing is his personal agenda could bring this country closer to ruin than any other, as a veteran I'm ashamed, this by far has to be the worse gathering of leadership I have ever seen. I wish the American people would wake up and not just vote their party or skin color but know something about who you are voting for, you by far are very far from Mr. Cruz mind. There are 26 million people in this country who need health care and we have a country full of henchmen and henchwomen who gives a dam about them. My the Lord judge this country for what it is. DEPART FROM ME, I NEVER KNEW YOU.
The TP / GOP are fighting the ACA this hard for one reason: it's going to work and then the American public will know they've been lied to by the right wing ever since Obama was elected.
I'd really like to know what Creepy Crowley gets paid by the Obama administration. Does anybody know what this sad old hack (who actually used to work in news until she started working for Obama) really makes each year because her head is so far up Obama's ass that she can no longer see the truth much less report on it. COW.
"But I also think far too many people are worried about politics". That says it all about Cruz. People are worried about this country, Rep. Cruz. Unfortunately you, Rand Paul, and your cronies only care about media attention and how quickly you can run for President. It's all about your egos, not the good of the United States. You are shameful.
"Obamacare isn't working."
I really don't even know what this means. The main part of the program doesn't start until 2014. So yes, it's not working (yet). Clearing that means we need to destroy the world economy.
The most ridiculous thing, ever, has to be passing legislation that says in advance that furloughed workers will be fully paid for the government shutdown. So the GOP, champion of fiscal discipline and unnecessary spending, have decided to give an open ended paid vacation to everyone in the federal government. That's just brilliant.
I am so tired of politics and politicians. Just give me my job back and my pay, that's all I care about. I didn't deserve to be used like a pond.
Kick this Canadian terrorist to Canada. Pathetic nonsense to USA. This sob needs to go.
The tea party is basically a terrorist organization along with the GOP. Al Qaeda could not undermine the American econ system but these two faced Nazis did (GOP).
"Cruz said that letting Obamacare go further into effect 'would destroy the private health care system.'" I have private health insurance; I also work in medical billing and have learned how health insurance companies work. Destroy private health insurance companies? The sooner, the better.
Ted Cruz will be found out for what he is – a self-centered, petty politician who is in way over his head. I'm not so much afraid of him, as I am afraid of what damage others are willing to let him do.
Becoming a politician is the worst thing that can happen to a man.
This guy exemplifies what's wrong with this country; he's a selfish narcist who doesn't have a God forsaken clue what it means to be a Patriot. He's bringing his party and this country down to his low level life
Today, Ted Cruz is the most hated man in America.
Well done sir.
Leverage....? You have none...
Tea Party can manipulate the system but you can't manipulate the people! Your little coup will be short lived!
This man, his beliefs, his ardent and unbending belief in only one view (his own), is truly scary. Shades of Hitler perhaps? I am becoming very scared of this radical right and believe, wholeheartedly, it is completely wrong.
What a petty, foolish little man Cruz is.
I don't know what they call it in Canada but in the U.S. it's called extortion. This shut down was planned a long time ago by the teaKoch party. TeaKoch will accomplish what Al Qaeda was unable to do. Cruz and the tea Koch left out their most hated programs the SS and medicare. They didn't want to anger their base by taking away means of existence. Cruz and Boehner should complete their plan to default. Maybe then the teaKoch party will realize that we're all in the same boat. Don't look for the billionaire brothers to give a hand out. They only use you for rallies.
The Tea Part IS the new American Al Qaeda. They should be rounded up and put in prison. They are doing more harm to this country than any Islam fanatic could ever imagine. How ironic that the Tea Party dolts view themselves as "patriots" when in fact they are traitors.
Mr. Cruz, "This is not a Damn Game"
(SOH Boehner 2013)
He'd use the United States military, as a whole, as leverage for a 1% tax cut if he could.
I'm so thankful he can never be President of the United States, I'd be terrified right now if it was a possibility (and to think, when I was young I was sad that being an American born in Canada disqualified me from ever being President).