Catalina Camia, USA TODAY
WASHINGTON -- Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said Wednesday he will not block a vote on the Senate deal to end the government shutdown that's also aimed at averting financial catastrophe.
The Tea Party favorite said he would vote "no" on the deal announced Wednesday by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. But he said he would not delay a final vote on the measure -- a key concession if the measure is to reach President Obama's desk before Thursday's deadline to raise the debt limit.
"I've never had any intention of delaying the timing of this vote," Cruz told reporters, saying the outcome would remain the same.
Cruz's 21-hour, filibuster-style protest of President Obama's health care law last month helped contribute to the partial government shutdown. He and Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, were key forces behind a GOP push to tie defunding of the Affordable Care Act to a stopgap spending bill to fund the government.
Senate Democrats had insisted that the spending measure, known as a continuing resolution, be "clean" and free of restrictions on the health care law. When the House GOP went along with the strategy to rein in the law they deride as Obamacare, that's when Congress was unable to pass a bill funding the government by Oct. 1, the start of the new fiscal year.
Cruz made his comments about the deal to reporters, at the same time McConnell was speaking on the Senate floor. He said the deal does nothing to address concerns about the health care law.
"It appears the Washington establishment is refusing to listen to the American people," Cruz said. "The deal that has been cut provides no relief to the millions of Americans who are hurting because of 'Obamacare.' "