Sen. Ted Cruz pushed back hard Sunday against critics who have accused the Texas Republican and his tea-party-backed allies in Congress of being unwilling to negotiate on the Obamacare stalemate that is poised to shut down the federal government on Tuesday.
Mr. Cruz said the Democrat-controlled Senate, which is in recess, should have been called into an emergency session by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to consider the stopgap funding bills passed in the predawn hours Sunday by the House.
“In my view Harry Reid should call the Senate back in today. We have a bill in front of us. We have a government shutdown in 48 hours,” he said in an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “There’s no reason the Senate should be home on vacation.”
“Let’s be clear,” Mr. Cruz said. “The House has twice now voted to keep the government open. If we have a shutdown, it will only be because when the Senate comes back, Harry Reid says, ‘I refuse even to talk.’”
Mr. Cruz told host David Gregory that Republicans are not the ones unwilling to negotiate on the stalemate.
“It is the Democrats who have taken the absolutist position. I’d like to repeal every word of the law, but that wasn’t my position even in this fight. My position in this fight was we should defund it, which is different from repeal. And even now, what the House of Representatives has done is a step removed from defunding — it’s delaying it,” he said.
“Now that’s the essence of a compromise. For all of us who want to see it repealed, simply delaying it for American families on the same terms as is being done for big corporations, that’s a compromise. At the same time, on the other side, what have the Democrats compromised on? Nothing. Zero.”