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Cruz urges GOP to use debt ceiling fight for Obamacare changes

5:57 AM, Oct 7, 2013   |    comments
This image from Senate video show Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaking on the Senate floor at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2013. Cruz says he will speak until he's no longer able to stand in opposition to President Barack Obama's health care law. Cruz began a lengthy speech urging his colleagues to oppose moving ahead on a bill he supports. The measure would prevent a government shutdown and defund Obamacare. (AP Photo/Senate TV)
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WASHINGTON (CBSNews.com) - Legislation raising the debt ceiling is among the best leverage that Congress has to rein in the White House and should include changes to the nation's new health insurance system, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union."

Cruz said that in addition to dismantling Obamacare, Republicans should also look for a "significant" plan to reduce new spending and avoid new taxes. He pointed out that past debt ceiling authorizations included changes to the banking system and mandatory budget cuts.

The two parties remain as divided as they've been for much of the week as the nation heads into its second week of a partial government shutdown, fueled by disagreements over legislation to fund the government. Democrats in the House and Senate have called for a "clean" bill to reopen the government with no strings attached, while the GOP-controlled House has sustained its attempts to alter or delay the new health insurance program.

Now, lawmakers face an Oct. 17 deadline to avoid a first-ever default on their financial obligations.

In September, Cruz vowed to do "everything necessary and anything possible to defund Obamacare," including attempting to filibuster any government funding bill that does not defund the healthcare law. A number of Republicans opposed that strategy, noting that the implementation of the law can't be stopped unless it is repealed outright.

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