(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."
Cruz, everyone knows you want to fund one thing at a time ONLY so you are left with healthcare unfunded. Nice try but the only fool around here is YOU.
STOP using the term 'Obamacare' – It's not about a person. Use the correct name of the legislation: Affordable Care Act! Obama himself needs to get a clue on this. Its a loosing strategy (and reality) to conflate the two.
Turns out he is a tool of the Koch Bros and all those far right think tanks in DC fueled by massive corporate welfare. America once again getting reamed by the super rich. Stand up to these low life radicals. Polls today show the House can be taken back and reason can be restored.
This guy is the downfall of the Republican Party and the rest must be to stupid to see it .
The very business people who contribute to both the GOP and Republican candidates across America are the ones being hurt by this shutdown The fall tourist trade is huge and most motels,hotels,resorts etc..depend on this income to survive much the same as retail stores depend on Christmas to survive.
There is an old saying..Don't bite the hand that feeds you. ...well the Republican Party apparently has never heard it.
Its like a young Rush Limbaugh is in office.
For those who appreciate an inside view of Tea Party, it's motives and who funds it.
"A Federal Budget Crisis Months in the Planning"
NYT – 4 page expose' as story behind the story
Released earlier today. Excellent account of who / why / how etc.
As said – they report, you decide.
Teatards are hostage takers. Seriously. America looks weak and unstable. Democracy looks like a joke right now. You don't see Putin dealing with this crap. This is making dictatorships look more functional than democracy.
I'm sure they will work things out .... my real question is how does Senator Cruz's get his eyelashes to keep getting thicker and his hair darker thee more time he is on TV, I mean, its amazing.... what prouct IS he using
So putting a gun to the economic head of the nation. is 'leverage' according to Cruz?
Rabid vermin. And should be treated as such.
I am so sick of The Tea Party Talking Points misleading the public. Ted Cruz keeps saying he is doing what the people want. The Polls show differently. They have taken the People's House and made it the Tea Party House. They have no idea how to govern. The President should stand his ground against the flag waving extremists.
Candy Crowley, Why are you giving this jerk a platform and not challenging him on the facts of what he is saying. This is why your politics is so polarized. Polls tell you that this man doesn't represent the majority of Americans nor even of his own party. You all in the media have turned journalism over into opinion based arguments and not journalism. It is ok to use data and point out when people are wrong!!! You all suggest that all points are valid and some are not THEY ARE LIES!! As a journalist challenge Government officials on their words we don't give a damn about your opinion or you being polite to these officials just to stay in the loop!!! DO YOUR JOB!!!
Cruz will be the perfect VP candidate in 2016 – he has the right-wing nut vote nailed!
Cruz is an fool. Why is anyone listening to him? Republicans better wake up before they do real harm to the economy.
This guy should be held for treason. If anyone dies because of him he should be held accountable. Who is this creep to hold up our government
Ted Cruz can't give a straight answer to save his life....what a slimeball liar politician
The far right is destroying our country. Sarah, Ted, Bachman, etc........ these people are simply out of touch with the majority of American's believe. We are a center right/left country...
I'm sure they will work things out .... my real question is how does Senator Cruz get his eyelashes to keep getting thicker and his hair darker the more time he is on TV, I mean, its amazing.... what prouct IS he using
Cruz is an outlaw. Cruz is committing treason against America. He's damaging the economy and will undoubtedly be against raising the debt ceiling, thereby damaging the economy more and creating a chaotic America for the world to see. "A few fanatics caused the suffering of millions." You read this statement about history through the ages. Cruz is an antisocial fanatic causing the suffering of millions. Obama and Holder would be correct in arresting Cruz and anyone in the House who continues in this crazy hijacking of America.
i dont understand how in any way shape or form that obamacare would destroy the private health care sector? this is for people who dont have or cant afford health insurance. Its not like they are losing customers, potentially, they may end up gaining more! and it would also somewhat cover out of pocket expenses for people who dont have health insurance!
Mr. Cruz, what are your ties to the insurance industry? Why are you trying to push the price of gold up by destroying America's credit worthiness and undermining the dollar?
Candy – that was a bad interview. Why didn't you challenge the lies? Like his statement on UPS. UPS said they would not double cover spouses who already have coverage through their own employer. C'mon! This guy is misreprepresenting the facts by saying they wouldn't cover spouses! Weak!!
his name is not ted, his real name is Rafael and does not use it because he hates Latinos/Hispanics and he is worse than his father the preacher, google and you'll see.
He speaks with clarity and a ring of truth. He's right–our government spends too much. We need to FORCE spending cuts because naturally it rises under this President and the Democrats in Congress