WASHINGTON (CBS DC) — Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz conceded that his rallying push to defund “Obamacare” by shutting down the federal government still lacks the votes necessary for success in Congress.
“We do not have the votes right now,” he said in a Sunday interview with CNN. “We need 41 Republicans in the Senate or we need 218 Republicans in the House.” To reach that goal, Cruz acknowledged that it will take a “grassroots tsunami” to push legislators to stand in opposition to the national health-care law.
In Texas last week, Cruz held town hall meetings rallying supporters around the idea of urging Congress to strip money for the president’s signature health care plan before voting on the next funding measure in September.
Current funding for the government expires at the end of September, and some GOP members are urging Republicans to use that deadline as a pressure point over President Obama and Senate Democrats.
In an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union,” the Texas Republican stated that it would be Democrats – not Republicans – who would be shutting down the federal government if they reject a measure to fund all federal programs except the federal health care law.
“The House of Representatives should pass a continuing resolution that funds the federal government in its entirety, every aspect of the federal government, except Obamacare,” said Cruz.
“President Obama, Harry Reid, will scream and holler that the mean, nasty Republicans are threatening to shut down the government,” said Cruz. “And at that point, Republicans have to do something we haven’t done in a long time – stand up and win the argument.”
Former Vermont governor and chairman of the Democratic National Committee Howard Dean told CNN that Sen. Cruz and others threatening government shutdown in order to defund the federal health care plan are “irresponsible” and “petty, radical-right people.”