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Ted Cruz: If vote to defund Obamacare happened today, it would fail

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Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas (AP/J. Scott Applewhite)

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, told a group of conservative bloggers meeting Tuesday at the Heritage Foundation that if his bill to defund Obamacare were voted on today, it would fail.

"If the vote occurred today, we do not have the votes in Congress to defund Obamacare," Cruz said. "We don't have the votes in the Senate, we don't have the votes in the House."

Cruz said Republicans are split over whether to get behind his bill because they are "very concerned" about being blamed by Democrats and the liberal mainstream media for a government shutdown.

Cruz's bill will be attached to the new continuing resolution required to fund the government starting October 1. Cruz said that he and others, including Sens. Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Marco Rubio, R-Fla., will not vote for a continuing resolution that funds Obamacare. Opponents claim Cruz's effort is another attempt by Republicans to close the government.

Opponents of Cruz's strategy, including Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., don't want to fight over shutting down the government. "So some would like to set up another one of these shutdown-the-government threats," McCain said. "And most Americans are really tired of those kinds of shenanigans here in Washington."

But Cruz says that is not his strategy. He says he wants the House of Representatives to fund every aspect of the federal government except Obamacare.

Cruz said he expects opponents to claim Republicans are trying to shut down the government over Obamacare, but he believes the GOP has to fight back on that assertion.

"We've got to stand up and make the argument and win the argument that no, that's not true," Cruz said. "We have voted to fund the federal government. We want to fund the federal government. Why is President Obama threatening to shut down the federal government? Because he wants to force Obamacare down people's throats? Because he's not willing to give individual families the same waiver he's giving giant corporations?"