(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."
He should be arrested for treason.
isn't there something called an election to change a democratic country's leadership?? History is full of people like Ted Cruz who use populist tricks and threats to push an agenda. Letting these people have their way or even giving them the time of day is a recipe for disaster.
How could one possibly consider using the debt ceiling for a political battle? The people who support this guy must be morons.
The irony is that these same Republicans want to stop funding for Obamacare are in such dire need of mental health coverage.
Cruz is a tool, in the most derogatory sense of the word.
Apparently, "democracy" and the "will of the people" mean nothing to him and his ilk.
His face annoys me
T-baggers are determined to destroy the US! Arrest them as they are terrorist.
Sen Cruz is the leader of the RADICAL, EXTREME Tea Party. He loves to be a McCarthy-istic obstructionist that gets a lot of publicity, thinking this is a great stepping stone toward the 2016 Pres. election. He is doing nothing but HARMING us. While I used to like the Tea Party they have gone too far – Cruz and the rest of the Tea Party should resign or be impeached.
So Sen. Cruz wants" to rein" in President Obama? Now who will rein in this Sen. Cruz who seems to need much more reining in.
Well from all the comments above it certainly seems to me that Ted Cruz is off the wall in his thought processes.
To me he is totally irrational. Anyone who could find it in his heart and mind to filibuster for 21 hours when there are important decisions to be made and work to be done should not be listened to at all. It all looks like one big political gimmick to send us down the road of no return. How on earth can people listen to him?
If there's one positive we can get out of this is that Boehner has destroyed his legacy and will no doubt go down as the worst GOP leader in U.S. history.
It is quite true that Obama has ignored all issued related to the nations's finanes.
What planet are you living on Vijay? This nation suffered the greatest economic disaster since the great depression at the hands of the previous president. Obama got the nations economy back on track.
The deficit has fallen faster than at any time in recent history. Taxes are lower than they have been in 50 years. Employment has been trending positive. The stock market is at the highest levels we've seen.
You're either seriously uninformed or willfully ignorant.
For the gop, they say it's all about jobs, jobs, jobs. Unfortunately, it's all about killing jobs, not creating them. This nation would be in such a better place if the republicans hadn't chosen to work against the best interests of the nation.
What Ted Cruz and his backers, the oil-baron Koch brothers, are doing here has nothing to do with the ACA. They are attempting a coup d'etat through the back door after they've discovered that they will never win the White house or the Senate with their extremist agenda.
Wake up, America! These people need to be pushed out of politics now and public pressure is the only way to get it done.
This Tea Bagger Terrorist even looks like a smile ball. Too bad he's partly Cuban and a Canadian. Someone please take him out. But then he's not the one really responsible for this mess.
Cruz is Americas Hitler. Someone has to squash this guy before he starts ordering people in to the gas chamber.
Sen Cruz loves to be a McCarthy-istic obstructionist that gets a lot of publicity, thinking this is a great stepping stone toward the 2016 Pres. election. He is doing nothing but HARMING us. While I used to like the Tea Party they have gone too far – Cruz and the rest of the Tea Party should resign or be impeached.
The politicians are doing too many interviews.
Obama should just go over these crazy Repubs heads and left the debt ceiling. He can do that.
I thought there were just a few crazy GOPers. Way to give all GOPers a very bad name. (I too never knew Canada could bring the US gov to a halt).
This man is self-focused, uncaring, unpatriotic, has an inflated opinion of himself, and is filled with hate for the President and the majority of Americans and the country. There is no other explanation why he would continue to promote the suffering of so many. The only people who think this is a game/battle are Ted Cruz, John Boehner and the rest of the GOP.
That is how they view our country – a game. The rest of us are praying for our country and countrymen who are suffering at the hands of the GOP.
Cruz is the male version of Palin. King of the Tea Party.
Given a conflict between two laws the president would have to decide which to follow. So if the debt ceiling were not raised he would have to decide between not borrowing or not spending money that is already authorized. I bet he decides to spend the authorized money and ignore the debt ceiling.
THis would likely be reviewed quickly by the court and they would have to decide on the spending side because it was the most recent and more substantial law. After that we'd never need to raise the ceiling again because it would never matter.
Of course the president without a raised ceiling could deside NOT to spend the money, He could fire 50% of the miliarty, just tell them to "go home".
Such is the problem with conflicting laws. if congress fails to raise the ceiling the president is told to both spend and not to borrow. So he and the courts get to decide which instruction to follow.
Listens to American people? He well received in own town halls needs to get out of that chamber
Mr. Obama and the Senate won't negotiate so the House says
And yet, the House negotiation boils down to "agree to what we want or we won't do anything"
Sounds like the "My way or the highway"
And we pay these people!
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.