Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) refused to deny the possibility that he would engineer another shutdown of the federal government in an interview published by ABC News on Thursday, seemingly putting him at odds with his own Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell (R-KY).
“I would do anything, and I will continue to do anything I can, to stop the train wreck that is Obamacare,” Cruz told correspondent Jon Karl.
Cruz then told Karl that the “true test” of Obamacare — the nickname for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) — was whether lawmakers were doing anything for people who are “getting hurt” by it, a statement resembling previous remarks that have been rated as False by Politifact.
“Cruz’s comments don’t take into account the many people with modest incomes who will get subsidies as they shop on the health care marketplaces,” Politifact has stated. “These people should see substantial decreases in their premiums thanks to the new regulations and subsidies.”
The Tea Party senator then criticized the agreement McConnell made with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) on Tuesday, which he voted against.
The bill, which provides $986 billion in government funding, enabling government agencies affected by the shutdown to be open until Jan. 15, also includes funding for the law and was passed by the House and Senate Wednesday night.
“Washington focuses on the politics all day long,” Cruz argued. “That’s what this town does. But what we saw in the deal last night is that the U.S. Senate is not concerned about all the people out of a job, all the people in part-time work, all the people whose health care premiums are skyrocketing, all the people who are losing their health insurance.”
When specifically asked if he would push for another shutdown as the current deal expired, though, Cruz ducked the question.
“I know you want to nail down all sorts of future tactical decisions,” Cruz told Karl. “What I intend to do is continue to stand with the American people working to stop Obamacare.”
But McConnell did, in fact, rule that kind of gambit out in a separate interview with The Hill, saying the 16-day impasse — which was accompanied by a drop in his party’s approval rating — taught his younger colleagues that it was a losing strategy.
“One of my favorite old Kentucky sayings is there’s no education in the second kick of a mule,” McConnell was quoted as saying. “The first kick of a mule was when we shut the government down in the mid 1990s and the second kick was over the last 16 days. There is no education in the second kick of a mule. There will not be a government shutdown.”
Watch Cruz’s interview, published on Thursday, below.