Echoing strategy that led to the October 2013 government shutdown, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz says Republicans have opportunities to scale back Obamacare with deadlines looming on spending bills Jan. 15 and on a debt ceiling vote this spring — and is urging GOP lawmakers to use “every leverage point available” to uproot the law.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal Wednesday
, Cruz vowed to “fight even harder . . . to repeal every word of Obamacare,” calling the health care law "a disaster" and "the No. 1 job killer in the country."
The feisty lawmaker sees a comparison between his push to crush Obamacare and former President Ronald Reagan’s famous “tear down this wall" challenge to the Soviets from near the Berlin Wall in 1987.
Reagan fought to keep that wording in his speech, Cruz told the newspaper, "because he understood the power of speaking the truth.”
"People have said, 'Boy, did you get lucky that Obamacare has gone so badly,' " he said. "But when you are speaking the truth, the truth will prevail."
Cruz denies he’s an obstructionist — telling the newspaper he came to Washington "to focus on jobs and economic growth" — but said "elevating the debate on Obamacare" was his top achievement in 2013.
And he blamed subsequent damage to the GOP image resulted after Senate GOP leaders "actively attacked House Republicans who were standing on principle and fighting to defund Obamacare."
Other Republicans are wary of trying the shutdown strategy once again, The Journal reported.
Cruz ally Sen. Mike Lee of Utah told The Journal the GOP this year should aim for a positive agenda.
"This year is different, because it's an election year," Lee told The Journal, saying "that conservatives have solutions to the problems Americans care about. We need to win a mandate.”
Republican Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, who is pushing measure to amend and minimize the health law, also was leery about following another shutdown course.
"That was a failed strategy," he told The Journal. "This year, let's not have shutdown fights."
Cruz conceded a full repeal of the law may not be possible until after the 2016 election, but told The Journal anti-Obamacare sentiment is growing in the country — evidenced even by the frequent jokes about the troubled healthcare law on television.
"Late-night comics are often effective barometers of where the American people are," he said.
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