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Sen. Cruz says he’s been talking with House conservatives

Sen. Ted Cruz on Friday appeared to confirm that he plotted with House conservatives to prevent Republican leadership from shifting strategy in the government shutdown fight.

“We’ve had numerous conversations with numerous members of the House,” Cruz (R-Texas) said after the Senate approved a continuing resolution that was amended by Democrats to preserve funding for ObamaCare.

“But at the end of the day, all 435 members of the House are elected by the people of their districts. And each member of the House has a responsibility to listen to their constituents, to listen to the people. I am confident if the House listens to the people, as it did last week, that it will continue to step forward and respond to the suffering that is coming from ObamaCare.”

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and his leadership team on Thursday tried to round up votes for a bill that would tie a debt-ceiling increase to a wish-list of Republican priorities. But conservatives balked, forcing GOP leaders to postpone a vote on the bill.

The National Review reported Friday that Cruz and his allies had met with House conservatives on Thursday and urged them to oppose Boehner’s move to push a fight over the healthcare law to the debt ceiling.

The conversations indicate that Cruz is seeking to wield influence not only in the Senate but in the House, where the leadership can afford only 16 defections if it wants to pass legislation without relying on Democrats.

A Boehner spokesman declined to comment.

—Bernie Becker contributed.