Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has told the House of Representatives and the American people to "go jump in the lake," says Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, who has been leading the charge to defund Obamacare.
Cruz, appearing on NBC's "Meet the Press"
on Sunday, repeating his argument that a government shutdown over funding for the Affordable Care Act would be the fault of Reid and President Barack Obama, who have said they will not negotiate the issue.
Cruz said that Reid's position is "I'm not willing to compromise. I'm not willing to even talk. His position is 100 percent of Obamacare must be funded in all instances, and other than that he's going to shut the government down."
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Early Sunday morning, the House passed what Cruz termed a compromise bill. Rather than defund Obamacare, he said, it would simply delay implementation for a year.
Cruz said that although he believes Obamacare should be repealed, he currently is fighting only to defund it. And the House's most recent vote goes one step further, asking simply to delay it.
"That's the essence of a compromise," he said.
Host David Gregory argued that Cruz, who made a 21-hour speech last week from the Senate floor, has so far failed to move anyone in the Senate toward his position, and the public isn't protesting in the streets against the Affordable Care Act.
"The only people who aren't listening to the argument are the career politicians in Washington," Cruz answered. "It's Harry Reid who wants to use brute political force."
Some of his fellow Republicans have been critical of Cruz's efforts, saying he will only harm the party if the government is shut down.
But Cruz said he is following in the footsteps former Sen. Phil Gramm, R-Texas, who in 1993 opposed members of the GOP who feared the Clinton healthcare initiative was inevitable. They tried to pass what Cruz called "Hillarycare Lite," until Gramm's arguments persuaded them otherwise.
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