Republican Sen. Ted Cruz says he has no regrets about opposing a Senate plan to extend the nation’s debt limit this month, saying party leaders should have held firm against the measure instead of green-lighting it so they could later claim they voted against it during the final vote.
Mr. Cruz of Texas, in an interview Thursday with CNN’s Dana Bash, said GOP leadership’s snap decision to vote in favor of a procedural motion, bringing the debt limit deal to the floor for an up-down and its passage, is a “perfect illustration of everything that’s wrong with Washington.”
The procedural vote was dramatic, because Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, and Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn, Texas Republican, were among those who decided to vote in support of putting the measure on the floor — a uncomfortable decision prompted by Mr. Cruz’s filibuster threat.
“What Republican leadership said is we want this to pass, but if every senator affirmatively consents to doing it on 51 votes, then we can all cast a vote no and we can go home to our constituents and say we opposed it,” Mr. Cruz told CNN. “And listen, that sort of show vote, that sort of trickery … to the constituents is why Congress has a 13 percent approval rating.”
Mr. Cruz also beat back criticism that he “stood in the corner” and let the situation fester, placing pressure on GOP colleagues who feared the risk of default on the nation’s debts, instead of trying to block the measure with a more vocal filibuster.
Mr. Cruz said he was clear from the start that Senate Democrats were “selling our nation’s future down the road” and that more should be done to address the debt before extending the nation’s borrowing authority.
“I don’t want to throw any Republicans under the bus,” Mr. Cruz said. “I would like to see all 45 Republicans stand together and actually do what we tell our constituents.”
Asked if his stand may be ideologically pure, yet cost his party elections, Mr. Cruz disagreed with the premise: “The way we lose is not standing for anything.”
He also said he knows how to play nice, despite the criticism that’s been hurled his way.
“I can’t control what they say, how they behave,” he said of his colleagues. “I can control what I do. So every interaction that I have with every senator, Republican or Democrat, is consistently civil, courteous, respectful, treating them with the dignity that they deserve.”