Bloomberg News

Cruz Unapologetic as Senior Republicans Critique Shutdown

October 20, 2013

U.S. Senator Ted Cruz

U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, a Republican from Texas, speaks to the media at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 16, 2013. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Ted Cruz, the Texas Republican who was among the architects of the 16-day partial federal government shutdown, remained unrepentant as senior members of his party criticized his tactics in fighting Obamacare.

Asked on ABC’s “This Week” if he would support another government shutdown unless the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 is defunded, Cruz said he “would do anything, and I will continue to do anything I can, to stop the train wreck that is Obamacare.”

“There will not be another government shutdown,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” program. “You can count on that.”

Lawmakers reached a deal Oct. 16 to open the government, which had been partly shuttered since Oct. 1 as Republicans fought, unsuccessfully, to defund Obamacare in the debate over the fiscal 2014 budget and raising the amount the U.S. can borrow. The agreement funds the government through Jan. 15 and suspends the debt limit through Feb. 7, setting the stage for another possible showdown.

Cruz, 42, led the push within the Republican party to tie defunding the 2010 health-care law to any compromise.

While strife over the budget and debt ceiling unsettled some investors, U.S. stocks rose last week, sending the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index to a record as Congress reached the budget deal and speculation grew that the Federal Reserve will maintain monetary stimulus. Treasuries gained for the first time in three weeks.

Expectations of a delay in Fed tapering pushed the dollar to the weakest since February. The greenback sank against all of its 16 most-traded counterparts.

Market Uncertainty

Markets could face further uncertainty from Washington. Lawmakers must produce a budget compromise by Dec. 13, setting the stage for more conflict over taxes and spending on programs such as Social Security and Medicare.

Senator John McCain, an Arizona Republican, joined McConnell in saying that there won’t be a second government shutdown.

“We can’t do this to the American people,” McCain said on CNN’s “State of the Union” program. “The American people will not stand for another one of those things.”

The shutdown that ended last week shaved at least 0.6 percentage point from the U.S. economic growth rate this quarter, Standard & Poor’s said on Oct. 16. Americans in October were the most pessimistic about the nation’s economic prospects in almost two years, according to the Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index.

Republican Losers

James Baker, who served in the administrations of presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush as treasury secretary and secretary of state respectively, said the shutdown was a “failure of governance” that will have hurt both parties.

“My party, the Republican Party, I think, was a loser,” Baker said on CNN’s “Fareed Zakaria GPS” program. “But I also think that the president and the Democratic Party was a loser because the world saw us in disarray.”

Jeb Bush, the Republican former governor of Florida and a possible Republican presidential candidate in 2016, told ABC’s “This Week” that “tactically, it was a mistake to focus on something that couldn’t be achieved.”

In a Gallup poll conducted Oct. 3-6, the Republican Party’s favorability was at a record low of 28 percent, down 10 percentage points from the previous month and 15 points below Democrats.

Democratic Attack

Hillary Clinton, a potential Democratic presidential nominee in 2016, alluded to the 16-day stalemate yesterday while speaking at a rally in support of family friend Terry McAuliffe, who is running for Virginia governor in the Nov. 5 election.

“When politicians choose scorched earth over common ground, when they operate in what I call the ‘evidence-free zone,’ with ideology trumping everything else, we’ve seen that families in Virginia and across the country have felt the consequences,” Clinton said to the crowd in Falls Church, a suburb of Washington.

Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat and House Democratic leader, said “there are no winners” in the shutdown, speaking on ABC’s “This Week.”

“We have to go to the table, understanding that we cannot shut down and we cannot place in doubt the full faith and credit of the United States of America,” Pelosi said.

The best way to ensure the deadlock isn’t repeated is to change the rules so that Congress has to disapprove changes in the debt ceiling, instead of approving them, said Senator Charles Schumer, a New York Democrat, on NBC’s “Meet the Press’ program. He said he planned to submit legislation to that effect.

“We need to make sure that government does not go through another round of brinkmanship,” Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” program.

To contact the reporters on this story: Jeanna Smialek in Washington at jsmialek1@bloomberg.net; Anna Edney in Washington at aedney@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steven Komarow at skomarow1@bloomberg.net


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