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Ted Cruz: House should start funding only critical govt programs

Sen. Ted Cruz said Friday that he would support without pre-conditions a spending bill to fund the military if a disagreement over Obamacare funding forces a government shutdown.

The Texas Republican has led the fight to defund the Affordable Care Act in a must-pass budget bill needed to keep the government running beyond Sept. 30. The House passed such a bill Friday and Cruz said he now will work to prevent the Democratic Senate from gutting the measure and restoring the Obamacare funding.

Cruz threatened to filibuster the House-passed Republican bill unless Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., drops plans to restore the Obamacare funding or agrees to require 60 votes to restore the funding, a threshold that would give Republicans a chance to defeat it.

With the House budget bill all but certain to be defeated in the Senate, Cruz told Fox News' Neil Cavuto that he would urge his Republican counterparts in the House to begin passing individual spending bills that would extend funding only for critical services and departments, such as the Pentagon, without demanding that Obamacare be defunded.

"I hope they would respond to the Senate — if Harry Reid does try to force a government shutdown — by passing one continuing resolution after another, funding each specific piece of government, starting off with funding the military," Cruz said. "Send it over, and say: ‘Alright, Harry Reid, are Senate Democrats, is President Obama going to shut down the military? Is that what you want to do?’

As part of that strategy, Cruz said Republicans should drop their demands that Obamacare be defunded, at least for now.

"I would send it as a clean, focused continuing resolution," Cruz said, "as a standalone, just on the military. And, I’d do it one at a time — I hope the House does that — if the Senate tries to kill this.”