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POLITICS: PennAve

Ted Cruz: Shutdown will be Harry Reid's fault

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Obamacare,NBC,Harry Reid,Ted Cruz,PennAve,Rebecca Berg,Government Shutdown

If the government shuts down Tuesday because lawmakers failed to pass the funding it needed to keep it running, Sen. Ted Cruz won't be accepting blame.

Cruz said on NBC's "Meet the Press" that blame for a shutdown should fall squarely on the shoulders of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.

“I don’t want a government shutdown,” Cruz said. “I don’t think Harry Reid should shut down the government.”

Cruz staged a dramatic 21-hour speech on the Senate floor this week in support of a House-passed government funding bill that would have defunded the Affordable Care Act, but Reid and Senate Democrats, joined by the majority of Senate Republicans, killed the Obamacare provision.

In response, the House on Saturday sent back to the Senate a new funding bill that Reid said is dead on arrival: A one-year delay of the health care law and a repeal of its medical device tax in exchange for continued funding of the government.

Cruz railed against Reid Sunday for failing to consider this new proposal and refusing to call the Senate back into session until Monday.

“If we have a shutdown, it will be because Harry Reid holds that absolutist position and essentially holds the American people hostage,” Cruz said.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., who has taken a less prominent role in the debate than Cruz, echoed Cruz's points Sunday.

“You’ve seen multiple compromises from the Republicans and you’ve seen zero [from Democrats]," Paul said. “That, to me, is the president being intransigent and unwilling to compromise.”

Democrats, including President Obama, have indicated that they would be open to discuss changes to the health care law -- but not with a government shutdown hanging in the balance.

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Rebecca Berg

Political Correspondent
The Washington Examiner