With a possible government shutdown looming, Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz tried to place the blame squarely on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for refusing to compromise on the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama’s signature health care law.
"So far, [Reid] has essentially told the House of Representatives and the American people, 'Go jump in a lake,'" Cruz said on "Meet the Press" on NBC. "He said, '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. I hope he doesn't do that. If Harry Reid forces a government shutdown, that will be a mistake. I hope he backs away from that ledge that he's pushing us towards, but that is his position."
Cruz continued: "Twice Harry Reid has said, 'We won't even have a conversation. I refuse to compromise. We want to fund it all. We want to stick it on the American people. And we won't budge.' That's not a reasonable position. And if we have a shutdown, it will be because Harry Reid holds that absolutist position, and essentially, holds the American people hostage."
Cruz commended the House's early Sunday vote to keep the government open and delay Obamacare for a year, despite Reid's contention that the bill would be dead on arrival when the Senate resumes work Monday.
"President Obama has granted a delay for giant corporations," Cruz said. "Every big company in America has gotten a one-year delay. If Harry Reid shuts the government down, what he will be saying is, "American families don't get treated as well as we treat giant corporations." Giant corporations don't have to suffer, get a delay on the horns from Obamacare. But hardworking American families, he's going to insist that they suffer now."
Cruz, who last week made headlines with an epic 21-hour filibuster-like speech on the Senate floor railing against Obama's landmark health care law, continued his crusade.
"The American people overwhelming reject Obamacare," Cruz said. "They understand it's not working. The only people who aren't listening to the argument are the career politicians in Washington. It's Harry Reid who wants to use brute political force."
During his Senate speech, Cruz was criticized for comparing the funding of Obamacare to the rise of Hitler in Nazi Germany. On Sunday, he denied he made such a comparison.
"There have been many voices in Washington who've said, 'We can't do this, we can't do this, we can't do this.' And I went through the contracts where, over and over again, when facing big challenges, Americans have risen to the occasion, whether it was the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, World War II, whether it was going to the moon under John F. Kennedy, or whether it was winning the Cold War," Cruz said. "At every stage, there were voices of conventional wisdom who say, 'This can't be done.' And at every stage, the American people rose to the occasion. And what I said is, 'We should do the same here.' We should look to, if we empower the American people, if we get Washington to listen to the people, that's how we get this changed."