Ted Cruz: Republicans Shouldn't Fear a Government Shutdown Over Immigration

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas Flickr user Gage Skidmore

Sen. Ted Cruz is threatening to reprise his role as a catalyst to a government shutdown, arguing on Sunday that Congress should use spending bills to block President Obama's recent executive action on immigration.

Cruz rebutted suggestions that holding government funding hostage in order to prevent Obama's plan halting the deportation of millions of undocumented immigrants from taking effect would hurt the GOP.

"At the time you and a lot of folks in the press said what a disaster it was to stand up to Obamacare," Cruz told Fox News' Chris Wallace. "Let me point out, we just had a historic election where we won nine seats in the Senate, we retired Harry Reid, we just got the biggest majority in the House since the 1920s, and the biggest issue we campaigned on was Obamacare."

Cruz added: "Republicans need to actually do what we say we'll do.… It was not a mistake for Republicans to stand up and fight Obamacare."

Cruz specifically is advocating for Congress to refuse to fund the Department of Homeland Security, the agency charged with immigration enforcement. Obama may veto any funding bill that omits DHS, which would potentially set up another partisan clash that could spiral into another shutdown.

Some Republicans see such a tactic as foolhardy. Republican strategist Charlie Black told National Journal last week that a government shutdown would be a waste of time.

"It does not accomplish anything. You cannot get the president to make a concession," Black said. "Why even take a political risk if there is no achievable goal?"

Cruz is widely considered a chief architect of the shutdown last year, which lasted 16 days and prompted an indefinite furlough of some 800,000 federal employees after Congress failed to pass legislation appropriating funds for fiscal 2014.

Cruz also told Wallace incoming Majority Leader Mitch McConnell should refuse to consider any of Obama's executive nominations "other than vital national security positions," which would include his new attorney general nominee, unless the executive action is rescinded.

(Image via Flickr user Gage Skidmore)

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