Topics: Obamacare

Ted Cruz won't rule out another government shutdown

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Obamacare,Ted Cruz,PennAve,Sean Lengell,Government Shutdown

Sen. Ted Cruz has accused his fellow Senate Republicans of sabotaging his efforts to stop Obamacare during the recent government funding debate and suggested he won't rule out forcing another shutdown of federal agencies over the health care law.

The Texas freshman chastised Senate Republicans for not backing up conservative House Republicans who have demanded that any government funding bill also defund or delay Obamacare, saying the law cannot be defeated unless the GOP is unified.

"When you've got Senate Republicans saying we cannot win, we will surrender, this is a fool's errand, it sabotages the effort," he said in an interview broadcast on CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday.

"In my view I think the House Republicans marched out on principe to say, 'we're listening to the people who are hurting because of Obamacare,' and I wish that Senate Republicans would've come in like the calvary to support them."

Cruz added that Senate Republicans "made a decision not just not to support House Republicans but to come in like an air force and dive-bomb them."

When asked by ABC's "This Week" if he was willing to risk another government shutdown over Obamacare mid-January when the current government funding deal expires, Cruz said "I will continue to do anything I can to stop the train wreck that is Obamacare."

"What I intend to do is continue standing with the American people to work to stop Obamcare," he said.

Many Senate Republicans, while also opposing the Affordable Care Act, have lashed out at Cruz for his tactics, blaming him for the political statement that resulted in a 16-day partial government shutdown that ended Wednesday.

"Don't do this again, Ted," said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., on CBS's "Face the Nation."

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who repeatedly has called Cruz's approach a "fool's errand," said the shutdown has hurt the GOP's public standing.

"The question is, how deep and how long?," he said on "State of the Union" Sunday. "Keep up the fight against Obamacare, but don't shut down the government and have so much collateral damage to innocent Americans."

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said that Republicans first must gain control of the Senate and White House -- while keeping control of the House -- before they can lead a successful repeal of Obamacare.

"We have a math problem in the Senate in getting rid of Obamacare. ... Fifty-five Democrats and 45 Republicans," McConnell said on "Face the Nation" Sunday. "We only control a portion of the government, and so that limits our ability to get rid of this horrible law."

McConnell vowed there won't be another government shutdown under his watch. "You can count on that," he said.

Cruz said he wasn't bothered by the blowback he's gotten from his party colleagues, telling CNN "I don't work for the party bosses in Washington, I work for the people of Texas."

And he downplayed speculation he's seriously considering a run for president in 2016, saying recent trips he has made to early GOP primary states were to "energize and activate the grassroots in the american people."

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Sean Lengell

Congressional Correspondent
The Washington Examiner