(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."
Why did the teaparty win in 2010? Will it happen again in 2014 ? If the teaparty is so small why did the irs and obama go after them ?
Cruz has already been chewed out by fellow Republican Senators in a closed meeting. He better not go to any more of those meetings because they will have a necktie party for him.
Cruz is short-sighted to the affect that using the American public will have on the current and future (if there is any) US financial and business systems. He needs to really re-think his words, and look to solving the problem rather than "winning".
This guy needs to pull his overly-inflated head from his ass and look at the damage he proposes to do. Someone needs to rein Cruz in, and we can start cutting government spending by firing him and putting his paycheck to good use..what a loser and a lunitic.
I do believe that Ted Cruz and the others within his circle of goons and thugs are creating tyranny in this country. Someone please find something that gets this guy arrested and put in jail where he belongs.
7 Million people without jobs and this ignorant Canadian wants to play Russian Roulette!
Who does this ugly little man think he is? Cruz is nothing but an illegal alien from Canada. Why are we paying him $174,000 a year to hold the United States of America hostage?
Texas, please tell us that at the first chance you will vote this flaccid piece of useless muck out of office.
nvmature "Where does the Republican Party keep finding these loons?"
Cruz represents those in this country who just can't reconcile themselves with the fact that the People elected a black man.
Cruz is in denial of hurting his party and the rest of the GOPs. 72% of people across the country can't be wrong.
I'm sorry; Ted Cruz and Osama bin Laden are different exactly HOW? I'm not sure I see any difference, except maybe the beard...
One of the most humorous articles I have read thus far.
Cruz has not been right yet about anything. Why are not the more moderate Reps stepping up? Any more screwups from Cruz and there won't be a Republican party left.
Is this the same senator that decided to stall a vote to voice his displeasure, then turned around and voted with everyone to approve? What a schlabag
I would like Obama to use the debt ceiling to derail Senator Cruz from destroying our nation. The Affordable Care Act is now law, and self supporting, so there is little he could to it except to drag our country to a standstill. Of course no one in Politics could admit that they screwed up, but Cruz would do well to remember that wearing big boy pants means you pay the big boy price if you screw up.
Far too many people are worried about politics? You caused OUR government to be shutdown over an existing law. Out of line! We should be worried!
Cruz is an egotistical, self-absorbed radical who loves the limelight and the sound of his own voice. He is destroying our once-proud Republican party.
If the Repubs are so upset about the debt ceiling, then the House shouldn't have passed all those appropriations bills writing checks that would require the debt ceiling to be raised. Last I checked, the REPUBLICANS controlled the House. So, boys, pay up. You spent it. Now the bill is due. You don't get to decide after you've bought & used your merch that you aren't going to pay your bills.
Ted Cruz+Tea Party = Hugo Chavez+PSUV
Both Brainless and Weeds should be shown the door.
If I could buy affordable health insurance that would be accepted at most reputable hospitals I would not fear losing my job so much. As a matter of fact I may actually stop putting up with the "do more with less" and the 1 or 2% annual increases and try doing something I actually enjoy doing. Maybe even start my own business.
Hey Cruz, stop using health care and and access to health care as LEVERAGE to make people work in crummy jobs they hate for low pay and long hours for your corporate paymasters!
Cruz is the biggest embarrassment that Republican Party has had to endure in the last 50 years.
Threatening to destroy the American economy for personal political gain is 'leverage'?
You know how Republicans always complain that moderate Muslims don't denounce the radicals in their midst loudly enough?
Where are your voices, moderate Republicans? Why are you NOT renouncing Ted Cruz?
Easy to rein in spending. Instead of being present in 50 + countries world-wide, cut so-called defense spending. We are following every empire (yeah we are) ever constructed into oblivion by overextending our supply lines. We need non-government related business to supply dollars for our economy. In turn this becomes tax revenue. This is not rocket science. You cannot continue to support government related business with government related dollars. Stupid!!!!