October 6th, 2013
11:16 AM ET
9 years 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. Angelo

    I cant believe Cruz is still getting attention and even interviewed. I thought what he made congress through with his out lettered speech was enough, he needs to step down from the pedestal.

    October 7, 2013 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  2. Chrissy

    I believe Senator Cruz has duel citizenship.

    October 7, 2013 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  3. Hogarth

    Calling the debt ceiling "the nation's credit card" demonstrates either that Senator Cruz doesn't understand what the debt ceiling is, or more likely that he is cynically manipulating the fact that most of his supporters don't understand what it is to gain political advantage. I know he's not dumb, so it appears that he is playing Machiavelli here. Any lie will do, so long as it gives you political power.

    October 7, 2013 12:28 am at 12:28 am |
  4. Tim

    Ted Cruz is talking about a law that has is already been passed. How about dealing with current events instead. Stop holding the rest of the country, and the republican party, hostage.

    October 7, 2013 12:37 am at 12:37 am |
  5. MaryM

    As one Republicans Senator said, Cruz is a fraud. Send Cruz back to Canada now before he does a lot more damage to the U.S.

    October 7, 2013 12:40 am at 12:40 am |
  6. IRS_phone_rep

    Thanks to this yahoo and his cronies, I and my wife and five year old daughter are going to be evicted from our apartment that we've lived in for 13 years. First they freeze my pay, then they sequester me, and now to add insult to injury they have decided I don't need a paycheck at all? I decided to work for Uncle Sam because of my family's history of service to our nation. My grandpa was a POW for 3 years in WW2, my Uncle was a wounded 'Nam vet. I thought that giving service to the country was the highest honor you could have. Give my best for rabid defilers of what it means to sacrifice for your fellows? Robert Lee said that duty was the sublimest word in the English language, but the Tea Party faction think duty to the government is equal to taking a bowel movement. I say a pox on this do nothing Congress, and that the recall elections should start on all 435 of these spoiled children. Reagan and Tip O' Neil are rolling in their graves...

    October 7, 2013 12:51 am at 12:51 am |
  7. Liz Clarke

    As a Canadian, I can tell you without hesitation that Ted Cruz is playing you. it is NOT possible to seriously address your debt on spending cuts alone. You need spending cuts AND tax hikes of one sort or another in order to begin to turn things around, and you also need to regulate and capitalize your banking system. Someone, PLEASE ask Cruz WHY Canadian banks did fail in 2008 and why our real estate market didn't go through the floor. ASK him IF a country can manage its debt when the tax base can't fund the nation's core social programs. ASK him if Social Security is sustainable on current tax revenues , if Medicare is sustainable on current tax revenues, and then ASK him how it can be sustainable without a tax hike. ASK Ted Cruz if he received a clear mandate from his constituents to play roulette with the global economy. ASK Ted Cruz WHY there will be no Social Security cheques if the debt ceiling isn't raised. ASK him why, as a Canadian, he HASN'T been telling you that for the spending cuts he is braying about to work, Social Security, and likely Medicare as well, would have go the way of the Edsel. THAT is how far you're in. And, ASK him the biggest question of all: with the debt you are carrying, WHO is going to bail you out if you default, and what strings would be attached to THAT? You CANNOT AFFORD to listen to this man. You just can't.

    October 7, 2013 12:53 am at 12:53 am |
  8. Davin

    @Shakeup Welcome

    Liberal progressive stronghold in DC? If you were honestly looking at Washington as a deficit hawk, you'd realize that corporate lobbying is the force that drives most of the American economic policy right now. We overpay for every service we try to provide from health care to the military. People like Ted Cruz aren't making the system better, he's paralyzing it so that the corporate interests can continue bleeding the middle class dry.

    The Affordable Care Act is the beginning of a policy structure intended to control costs by widdling away at the power base of a health care system corrupted by the shady policies of insurance providers and the pharmaceutical industry. You want to start saving money? Start supporting conservatives and democrats alike who are trying to confront overcharging instead of supporting a guy who is simply trying to pad the way to his own presidential hopes.

    October 7, 2013 12:55 am at 12:55 am |
  9. bikermiker

    I loved the last quote, "But I also think that far too many people are worried about politics." Is this guy for real. He and his colleagues are toying with all of our lives which could very well have economic consequences for all of us and he has the nerve to make a statement like that! Every single American should be insulted because of this arrogant statement. This guy is clueless and reckless – a very dangerous combination. Perhaps we can reconsider having Texas secede from the union!

    October 7, 2013 12:56 am at 12:56 am |
  10. Michael

    Anyone who "welcomes" this shakeup is obviously not pregnant or a new mom without WIC, working parents without Head Start, or a veteran like me who has seen his benefits cut to the core–oh, or over 8000,000 people who were "furloughed". Tea Baggers care about themselves and their money-NOT Americans.

    October 7, 2013 12:59 am at 12:59 am |
  11. Earth99

    So this Cruz went to Harvard... didn't learn anything, just added to his narcissism. I absolutely am dumbfounded by the stupidity and meanness of the Republican Obstructionist Tea Party GOP/U. S. Congress. They are doing everything to hurt our government and the innocent citizens of this country. The Affordable Care Act had better not be tampered with, it has passed the Supreme Court, it is the law of the land. Millions of people need it. Of course not rich buggers like those in the U. S. Congress and their corporate money producers for their campaigns. This has to stop now. How can they do this, they are holding our country hostage!!!! They are traitors and should be held for treason.

    October 7, 2013 01:07 am at 1:07 am |
  12. Rogue351

    Is the GOP / Tea Party really trying to upstage George Bush on stupid ? Tough act to follow but you are giving it one heck of an attempt. WOW !! You talk about Obama not putting enough people back to work. What exactly do you think the effects of your incompetence, egocentric ideals are doing to this country ? They are certainly not helping.

    October 7, 2013 01:17 am at 1:17 am |
  13. Anonymous

    Cruz is the Anti-Christ

    October 7, 2013 01:22 am at 1:22 am |
  14. mustache1

    Watch as the GOP creates disaster after disaster and uses fear to manipulate the masses. Will never work on me. never did.

    October 7, 2013 01:27 am at 1:27 am |
  15. Republicandropout

    Really dislike this jerk!

    October 7, 2013 01:32 am at 1:32 am |
  16. tednugent'sdiapers

    Let the civil war begin. Aim for the misspelled signs and three cornered hats.

    October 7, 2013 01:34 am at 1:34 am |
  17. gjilan.prague@gmail.com

    And millions of us don't like the "shake-up" because it isn't a "shake-up" its a scam to generate notoriety not solutions. He may represent the millions who don't like the ACA, but does he also represent the millions who do because for the first time they actually have access to health insurance? I would personally like to thank the Senator for "shaking" things up so much he might trigger a default with all its consequences. Maybe when the economy crashes and elderly moms and dads have to move in with the kids because they've lost their homes, kids drop out of college, and many of us are laid off, we can all conclude the "shake up" wasn't such a good idea after all. Cruz is like Marie Antoinette, "let them eat bread."

    October 7, 2013 01:37 am at 1:37 am |
  18. Ferdinand Boyce

    You Cruz, you lose

    October 7, 2013 01:38 am at 1:38 am |
  19. Jack Be Humble

    I do so like
    green eggs and ham!!
    Thank you!
    Thank you,

    October 7, 2013 01:38 am at 1:38 am |
  20. CharlesCT

    So Cruzie Boy, did you paste your demand with cutout magazine letters?

    October 7, 2013 01:39 am at 1:39 am |
  21. diane

    Hell the budget he thought was leverage, now he thinks its the debt ceiling. How far and long r we going to allow this man to go...until he destroys the entire economy except for the rich. Please someone in the House with commonsense please step up and do what is needed for this country. Get over the obsession of obmacare, pass a budget and do what is needed to keep us from default!!

    October 7, 2013 01:41 am at 1:41 am |
  22. DarrellSF

    Ted Cruz, the Joe McCarthy of the 21st Century.

    October 7, 2013 01:47 am at 1:47 am |
  23. Fact Checker

    What a shmuck. How many times have taxes been lowered without an decrease in spending? How many wars have been started without discussion on how t was to be paid for?

    October 7, 2013 02:15 am at 2:15 am |
  24. Kevin

    This guy is a embarrassment to our country. Can you imagine going overseas and explaining this guy to other people. I have not seen such a smug arrogant prick in my life. I'm beginning to think Texas should just leave this country with who they throw in the ring politically. We had deal with Bush and now these fundamental nut bags who want to rub sticks together to start fire like Cruz and the Tea Party crazies. I'm embarrassed these guys are in our country and represent any part of it.

    October 7, 2013 02:18 am at 2:18 am |
  25. Craig

    As usually he's completely wrong. Only Congress can authorize spending money. All of our bills....every darn dime...is money authorized by Congress. If he doesn't like the debt then he should darn well look in the mirror. The President didn't cause this mess. No President did. Bush II spent like a drunken sailor and cut taxes too....but he didn't actually do either of those things himself. Congress did. Time to look in the mirror, Teddy. You can blame the office of President for the debt.

    October 7, 2013 02:20 am at 2:20 am |
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