(Jonathan Ernst/Reuters )

Republicans shouldn't be so afraid of a government shutdown, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) argued Tuesday morning.

Cruz is asking Republicans to refuse to vote for any budget deal that includes funding for the Affordable Care Act. Without a continuing resolution, the government will shut down on Sept. 30. Cruz needs 41 Republicans in the Senate to commit to a filibuster, or 218 Republicans in the House to hold to his demand.

Some in the GOP have argued that the move is a recipe for disaster that could leave the party blamed for a shutdown. But Cruz suggests that the fallout is overstated. The 1995 shutdown, he said, resulted in serious fiscal reform and lost Republicans only a few seats in the House.

"The sort of cocktail chatter wisdom that, 'Oh, the shutdown was a disaster for Republicans,' is not borne out by the data," Cruz said.

Asked about polls finding that a majority opposed defunding the law, Cruz invoked "largely useless," slanted polls put out by advocacy groups that blame a government shutdown on Republicans. In his view, it's President Obama who is threatening to shut down the government by refusing to take out funding for Obamacare.

But what really matters, Cruz said, is that defunding is the right thing to do. "If there is ever a time to defeat Obamacare, it is now," he said. "Moreover we have what I believe is the best opportunity we have, and the last opportunity we have."