Sen. Ted Cruz said Thursday that a short-term debt limit extension could help refocus attention on his fight to dismantle the 2010 health care law.
During an appearance on KYFO radio, the Texas Republican offered his first thoughts on a proposal being floated by Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio and other House Republicans for a six-week increase in the debt limit without a continuing resolution restoring normal operation of the government.
"My understanding is that this is being driven by House conservatives who are quite reasonably saying listen, let's focus on Obamacare, on winning the fight on Obamacare, on helping remedy the enormous harms Obamacare is inflicting on millions of Americans, and let's push the debt ceiling a little further down the road so that it doesn't distract us from the fight we're right in the middle of now," Cruz said. "That is understandable."
Cruz continues to argue that the effort to block the health care overhaul will ultimately be good politics for Republicans.
"I think we're making a lot of progress," Cruz said. "If you look at what has happened in the last month ... because of House Republicans taking the stand they have taken, it has elevated in the public debate the enormous harms Obamacare is causing."
Asked whether he was worried about fellow Senate Republicans who might agree to a deal to raise the debt limit and enact a stopgap spending measure in exchange for eliminating something like the excise tax on medical device companies, Cruz didn't name names but did express frustration with other politicians.
"I am always worried about elected officials in Washington," Cruz said.
The medical device tax repeal is a key to a proposal drafted by Sen. Susan Collins. The Maine Republican said Wednesday she was talking with Democrats.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid confirmed on the Senate floor Thursday morning that he would set up a Saturday procedural vote on a measure to suspend the debt limit until the end of 2014 (which with the use of "extraordinary measures" could last months into 2015).
"Yesterday government bonds were considered the safest investment in the world. Will it be so tomorrow? Time will only tell. But if the United States fails to pay its bills, that safe haven will disappear very quickly," the Nevada Democrat said. "We're going to have a vote Saturday on the ability to proceed to a clean debt ceiling. We'll find out how Senate Republicans want to proceed."