(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."
Yes of course... since you will never have to worry about healthcare, lets look at ways to trim a program that so many Americans actually NEED! Yes lets hold America's financial outlook and financial health as a wager against progress. Lets privately discuss when we will re-open the government so we can change our investments at the right time for when the stock market rebounds... Yes Yes Yes, lets pretend like corporate money doesn't influence policy, lets make it look like nobody is going to benefit from this, OH YES it's the 1% back to remind us that they still aren't rich enough yet.
Ted Cruz has the foresight that when Obamacare proves it's successfull the tenetof his party's platform is proved untrue/
And who's going to rein in Cruz? He's one of the biggest loose cannons walking around.
It is very frightening to see normal and decent people fawn all over this self proclaimed demagogue. But, the annals human history is peppered with countless incidents where people hang on every word like they are a messiah. This guy is nothing but an empty suit pied piper who revels in the ignorance of those who follow him against their better judgment.
Cruz you are an idiot. You are gambling with the American Peoples lives and all just for your political gain
The stupid GOP is railing against Obamacare... Ideas that came from them and the heritage Foundation. So Stupid.
Can someone explain why this singular nobody Cruz has a stranglehold on GOP decision making?
I think I missed something . . . Is this idiot Cruz the President? Does he realize how much pain and suffering he has inflicted on the Amiercan people who VOTED FOR OBAMA?
Saying that the Tea Party loves America is like saying that OJ loved Nicole.
He is effectively admitting that he is, for all intents and purposes, a terrorist.
There must be something really nasty in the coffee at these tea party meetings, because it's obviously causing SEVERE brain damage
Perhaps someone will apply "leverage" to Cruz. The junior Senator from Texas needs some sense squeezed into him.
So lets see... he's one senator from one state, all of 1/100th of the senate, yet he wants to extort the entire US of A over his opinions. He completely ignores the election where all the states voted and we the law for which the majority of senators and representatives voted. So why does anyone pay any attention to him?
Senator Cruz, you are a pompous ass.
Here's what happens – they push it further towards the debt ceiling deadline which is the bigger issue. Obama compromises on a few aspects of Obamacare but does not allow it to be kicked down the road. The debt ceiling is raised and both sides claim victory. No grand bargain is reached which makes the people suffer longterm because the republicans won't raise taxes on the top 1% even if its met with significant spending cuts and Obama won't back off his signature piece of legislation regardless of the fiscal costs.
Cruz wants to address debt? Let's close the military basis in Texas, remove the border patrol, close the Johnson Space Center and stop subsidizing Texas ranchers and farmers. Let's start there.
One has to wonder if the folks in the background (we know who some of them are) pulling this guy's strings who will profit enormously in both power and wealth if there is an economic collapse. This guy is dangerous. Texas politicians have NEVER been good for the rest of the USA regardless of party.
Ted Cruz and the GOP are doing more to hurt the USA, than what AL Qaeda, did on 9/11
I am an independent: If we can spend time and money to try to impeach former President Clinton, why are we not as American pushing to impeach every tea/republican members for destroying our Country. This cruz guy is a loser, will not never amount to anything. I would challenge the President Obama and the Democrats to educate the American base on what the elected are responsible to do for the people. This is dangerous ground we are on – if the majority has ruled and a law has been passed, I expect the elected to carry it out. I don't expect the minority who did not get their way to high jack the system (not using the proper order) to reverse it so that the minority rules. American's if we don't stop this now, in the future this is what we should expect from all minority groups that don't get their way. That is not American. President Obama stand your ground, I don't like everything that you do, but the majority has spoken and we expect you to represent us and stop the internal terrorist.....
So lets see... he's one senator from one state, all of 1/100th of the senate, yet he wants to extort the entire US of A over his opinions. He completely ignores the election where all the states voted and the law for which the majority of senators and representatives voted. So why does anyone pay any attention to him?
Thank you Ted for destroying the GOP. Great job you idiot.
I think Ted Cruz could have a good career as a used car salesman.
There has to be some way congress can kick this ingrate in the butt & pass a bill not involving the ACA. Isn't there
something they can do....can we give Boehner the flu or something & his fill in do something....this is utter insanity!
How many lives will Cruz destroy before this is over? Woe is me, woe is the U.S.A.
It's funny how the republicans who ran on jobs jobs jobs so easily put so many on the streets, cause them to lose their homes, and how easily they detail the economic recovery. They are frauds and liars.
Let's make Cruz a one term senator, where did I hear that before?
This guy is the female Michelle Bachmann, but worse.