Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid blamed the Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz’s presidential ambitions for the government shutdown, saying Cruz took the stand to further his 2016 plans.
In an interview on Univision set to air Sunday, which was reported by The Washington Post, Reid accused the junior senator from Texas of acting entirely in his own self interest in his quest to defund Obamacare, which prompted a standoff between the Republican House and Democratic Senate that was not resolved until after the government had been shut down for 16 days.
“In an effort to help him run for president, he has done some stuff that’s really damaging to our country,” Reid said. “He’s been attempting to raise money. And who has he hurt? He has hurt average Americans. The government being shutdown for 14 or 15 days, that has been very hurtful to people. Not only the people that work for government, but the people who work around government.”
“What he has done to our country will go down in the history books as one of the most negative approaches to trying to change America that we’ve ever seen,” Reid went on. “What he did was absolutely wrong.”
The deal that was struck earlier this week to end the shutdown and avert a debt default are short-term, potentially setting up future showdowns when these bills expire in January and February. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told National Review Thursday that another “government shutdown is off the table. We’re not going to do it.” But Cruz, appearing on ABC, did not rule out the possibility of taking a similar stand, saying: “I would do anything, and I will continue to do anything I can, to stop the train wreck that is Obamacare.”
Reid predicted that if Cruz were to make good on that threat, House Republicans, many of whom rallied around his strategy, would be in danger of losing their majority.
“The American people will not put up with that. And if this happens again — I don’t think it will, but if it does — I think the House of Representatives will go Democratic,” Reid said.