Republican Sen. Ted Cruz is defending his move last week to oppose a Senate plan to pass a "clean" debt-ceiling bill, saying party leaders should have stood firm against the measure.
"I don't work for the party bosses in Washington. I work for 26 million Texans," he said in an interview with CNN's Dana Bash.
Cruz wanted to filibuster the legislation, calling for 60 votes to avoid defaulting on the nation's debt, but GOP leaders voted to end the debate. The bill then advanced to the Senate floor and was approved 55-43 on a straight party-line vote.
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Cruz said the Senate Democrats were "selling … our nation's future down the road" and that more should be done to address the debt before raising the ceiling.
Asked whether he was hurt that many fellow senators from his own party are angry with him for putting them in a difficult position, Cruz responded: "As a human being, I can't control what they say, how they behave. I can control what I do. So every interaction that I have with every senator, Republican or Democrat, is consistently civil, courteous, respectful."
Cruz also said that Republicans backing down from their principles could cost the GOP elections.
"The Washington establishment think Republicans win elections by you don't stand for anything, you keep your head down, you don't rock the boat. You know what? Every time we do that, we get clobbered in the polls," Cruz said.
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