Senate Republicans must 'stand our ground' on ObamaCare, Cruz says

Senate Republicans must "stand our ground" against their Democratic counterparts in next week's federal spending showdown over ObamaCare, 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-Texas) said Sunday.  

House Republicans scored a "tremendous victory" on Friday, Cruz said, when GOP members approved legislation to defund ObamaCare, as part of a plan to avoid a government shutdown in October.

"It is now our turn to unify our stand with [House] Republicans," Cruz said during an interview on "Fox News Sunday."

"I think we should stand our ground" against ObamaCare," he added.

Cruz has drawn harsh criticism from rank-and-file House Republicans, who accused the likely presidential hopeful of picking a political fight with Senate Democrats he will more than likely lose.

The rift highlights the desire by GOP lawmakers to avoid blame for any shutdown that occurs because of demands to kill ObamaCare.

Sen. Claire McCaskillClaire McCaskillVA opposes bill aimed at helping vets in mustard gas experiments Blame game begins on Zika funding Overnight Tech: Obama heads back to Silicon Valley | FCC meeting preview | Yahoo bans terror content | Zuckerberg on sit-in live streams MORE (D-Mo.) said Cruz's political play in the Senate is more about the looming 2016 presidential race than it is about preventing a government shutdown.

Lawmakers should not "throw tantrums when we lose elections," McCaskill said Sunday, regarding repeated House GOP efforts to kill ObamaCare.

"This is about running for president for Ted Cruz," not a desire to stave off a potentially devastating shutdown, she added during an interview with Fox News.

Cruz declined to respond to McCaskill's comments but did accuse Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidDems leery of Planned Parenthood cuts spark Senate scuffle 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 Senate passes Puerto Rico debt relief bill MORE (D-Nev.) of using "brute political power" to derail the House measure in the upper chamber.

Senate Republicans on Monday will begin eyeing amendments and a possible cloture vote to the Senate version of legislation to avoid a government shutdown, Cruz said.

If Republicans fail to push the House version of the bill through the Senate, Cruz reiterated his support on Sunday for a military-only funding measure in the House.

More in Senate

McConnell steers Republicans away from ObamaCare fights

Read more »