Cruz warns shutdown could lead to terrorist attacks

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) warned on Wednesday that the government shutdown could leave the United States vulnerable to terrorist attacks.

"If, God forbid, we see an attack on the United States because the intelligence community was not adequately funded, every member of the committee would be horrified," Cruz said during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the government's surveillance programs.

Earlier in the hearing, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper testified that intelligence agencies have furloughed about 70 percent of their civilian workforce as a result of the shutdown. Only employees working on "imminent" threats to life or property have been allowed to stay on, according to Clapper.

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"This seriously damages our ability to protect the safety and security of this nation and its citizens," Clapper said. 

Cruz urged the Senate to heed Clapper's warning and pass legislation to fund the military and intelligence agencies. Senate Democrats, however, have rejected proposals to fund only pieces of the federal government while allowing other agencies and programs to remain closed.

“I don’t believe President Obama should be playing politics with this,” Cruz said. “He shouldn’t be refusing to negotiate or compromise.”

Cruz helped spearhead the Republican effort to demand that Democrats agree to defund ObamaCare as part of a resolution to fund the government. Last week, he spoke for 21 hours on the Senate floor to oppose Democrats' move to include funding for the healthcare law in the resolution.