Sen. Ted Cruz on Sunday defended the tactics that led to a government shutdown and brought the United States to the brink of defaulting on its financial obligations, insisting he and other conservatives were willing to compromise but Democrats were not.
"I don't want the government to shut down," he said on CNN's "State of the Union." "If you look, House Republicans have repeatedly been compromising, have been passing one bill after another."
Cruz, R-Texas, said that President Obama and Senate Democrats were to blame for the shutdown, and that "of course" the United States will avoid defaulting on its debts Oct. 17.
Because Treasury Secretary Jack Lew could not definitively say that the United States would certainly default on its debts on Oct. 17, Cruz said he commended Lew for not being a "demagogue on the debt ceiling the way his boss has."
While Cruz brushed off suggestions that he was being criticized by fellow Republicans, he said he wanted three things from Democrats before he'll support an increase in the debt ceiling: a structural plan to reduce government spending; no new taxes; and changes to the Affordable Care Act.
Cruz was a among a band of Senate and House conservatives demanding that Obamacare be derailed or delayed. They threatened to shut the government down unless Senate Democrats and Obama agreed to change the new health care law despite the unlikelihood of such a surrender and the consistency of polls showing the public would blame the GOP.
The shutdown entered its sixth-day Sunday, but Cruz insists his tactics have "not remotely" hurt the Republican Party.
"Far too many people are worried about politics. ... If we worry about what is impacting the American people, the politics will take care of itself," Cruz said. "Politicians that are gazing at the polls, there is a reason why the most common sentiment across the country is that politicians in Washington aren't listening to us."