Sen. Cruz: GOP needs to use fiscal crises as bargaining chips

Freshman Sen. Ted CruzTed CruzTrump: Rivals who don't back me shouldn't be allowed to run for office Kasich touts poll showing he does better against Clinton than Trump Two transgender candidates win primaries MORE (R-Tex.) said President Obama has the country on the path to fiscal “oblivion,” and that the Republican Party needs to be willing to force a government shutdown to get its desired spending cuts.

“The continuing resolution and the debt ceiling coming up next couple of months - those are leverage points that are mirror images of the fiscal cliff,” Cruz said at The National Review Institution Summit in Washington, D.C., on Saturday. “The result is a temporary or partial government shutdown, and we’ve seen that movie before, in 1995…the result was some political pain, to be sure...but also the most fiscally responsible Congress we’ve seen in modern times.”

The message is at odds with the speech Rep. Paul RyanPaul Ryan'Never Trump' plots its last stand Overnight Finance: Senate sends Puerto Rico bill to Obama | Treasury, lawmakers to meet on tax rules | Obama hits Trump on NAFTA | Fed approves most banks' capital plans The Trail 2016: When a pivot isn’t always a pivot MORE (R-Wis.) gave to the summit just hours earlier, in which he argued the Republican Party should be prudent in picking its political battles.

Ryan used the "fiscal-cliff" deal struck at the final hour as an example of embracing imperfect legislation to score a modest victory. Cruz on Saturday bemoaned the “bad deal” Republicans got, and said it was because they didn’t have the resolve to go over the cliff.

“The fundamental dynamic…is whichever side owns the default is in a stronger position,” Cruz said. “Whoever wins if nothing gets done, wins…the battle, which is why in the fiscal cliff we got such a bad deal. President Obama was perfectly fine, serene to go over that cliff. The only hope of getting anything affirmative done is…to use those leverage points to force real solutions.”

Cruz on Saturday said House Republicans were “the last bastion standing between us and oblivion,” but his message is at odds with GOP House leadership, which has publicly embraced a minority posture in the face of Obama’s reelection.

Rather than trying to force measures through the Democratic-led Senate, House GOP leaders are looking to achieve modest victories while serving as a check on Obama’s agenda.

“The House has every bit as much a mandate from the American people as the president does,” Cruz said.

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