Sen. Ted Cruz seized the opportunity afforded by a White House invitation to confront President Barack Obama over his healthcare plan.
Cruz said he appreciated the chance to go see the president — but then presented him with "substantial" changes for Obamacare.
In the meeting, also attended by dozens of other Republican senators, Cruz refrained from using the word "defund," reports Politico
. Instead he told Obama that all sides need to "provide substantial relief to the millions of people who are hurting because of Obamacare, who are losing their jobs, being forced into part-time work and losing their health insurance."
Cruz said he told the president that a deal to reopen the government must also provide relief for those affected by the Affordable Care Act.
One participant at the gathering told The Dallas Morning News
that Obama seemed to "bite his tongue," while Cruz was talking.
Cruz said Friday he's happy there are finally discussions being held.
"That is an improvement," he said. "There was an awful lot of talk, but then, at the end of the day, the president still said he wouldn't negotiate."
But while Cruz has been focused on defunding Obamacare, leading the charge on attacking the insurance program as a condition for reopening the government, he denied Friday he's responsible for the government shutdown, instead blaming Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
"I opposed the shutdown from Day One," insisted the Texas freshman senator, who has come under fire from senior Republican lawmakers
, who say he is fighting against Obamacare without having a real strategy.
"I think it was wrong that President Obama and Harry Reid forced the shutdown," Cruz told reporters. "They forced the shutdown because they wouldn’t compromise on Obamacare."
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