As Congress hurtles towards a government shutdown, Sen. Ted Cruz warned his Senate colleagues that voting to take up a House bill funding government but not Obamacare would actually enable Obamacare's funding.
Last week, the House passed legislation that would fund government but defund Obamacare. But Cruz is concerned that taking up the House bill and ending debate on it would allow Senate Democrats to pass an amendment reinserting Obamacare funding with a smaller, 50-vote threshold.
"A vote for cloture is a vote for Obamacare," Cruz, R-Texas, said on "Fox News Sunday." Cloture is a technical term for ending debate on a piece of legislation, and requires the consent of 60 senators.
The Texas Republican accused Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., of "abusing his power" and using "brute political power to force" the funding of Obamacare with a simple majority vote, a move that allows Democrats to change the bill without Republican support.
But Democrats charge that Cruz and other Senate Republicans are ignoring the will of Americans who elected a Democratic majority in the Senate.
"I don't think we should throw tantrums when we lose elections ... not since Ronald Reagan has a president been elected twice" with a popular majority, Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., said. "I cannot believe that they are going to throw a tantrum and throw the American people and our economic recovery under a bus."
Cruz said he hoped Reid would allow a 60-vote threshold for all amendments to the funding bill, which would give Republicans a chance to defeat them, but conceded that was unlikely.
Expecting Reid to just gut the Obamacare provision and then send the bill back to the House, Cruz has called on House Republicans to pass individual appropriation bills for individual departments, like the Pentagon.
"See if Harry Reid is willing to shut down the military because he wants to force Obamacare on the American people," he said.
Regardless, Cruz thinks that the onus is squarely on Democrats if the government shuts down as scheduled in eight days.
"I don't think that Harry Reid and President Obama should shut down the government," Cruz said.