Sen. Ted Cruz, whose fight to defund Obamacare ultimately led to a government shutdown, said Wednesday he will not block a 11th hour compromise between the two Senate leaders to reopen government and raise the debt ceiling.
"I have no objections to the timing of this vote and the reason is simple: there is nothing to be gained from delaying this vote one day or two days," Cruz, R-Texas, said after exiting a meeting with Republican senators. "The outcome will be the same."
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., have reached a deal that would fund the government through Jan. 15 and raise the debt ceiling until Feb. 7. A vote is expected later Wednesday.
Cruz said he "never had any intention of delaying the timing of this vote" with a filibuster or floor speech that could have stalled action by several days. He added that he was never asked by Republican leaders of his plans, though he was asked by reporters for days how he would react to a Senate deal and refused to answer.
The Texas Republican commended House Republicans for taking up his fight and ripped Senate leaders for caving to the "Washington establishment."
Cruz led the effort this summer to turn a battle over funding government into a national fight against President Obama's health care law. In standing up against the Affordable Care Act and calling for lawmakers to defund it, he became a national icon among Tea Party conservatives and a lightning rod for criticism inside the walls of Congress, even from within the GOP.
But several senators and enough House members joined his ranks, preventing a vote on a continuing resolution to keep government open on Oct. 1. That showdown blended into the debt ceiling fight, and Republicans were less willing to risk a default when Obama and Senate Democrats clearly were not going to budge on health care.
However, Cruz, whose name has repeatedly surfaced as a potential 2016 contender, dismissed claims that he got nothing for his attempts to link anti-Obamcare provisions in a bill to fund the government, saying his efforts have spurred on efforts in the House to kill the health care law.
"That was a remarkable victory, to see the House engage in a profile of courage," Cruz said. "Unfortunately the Senate chose not to follow the House ... Had senate republicans united and supported House Republicans the outcome of this, I believe, would have been very, very different. I wish that had happened, but it did not."
Congressional correspondent Sean Lengell contributed to this report.