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Cruz to conservatives: Keep fighting for cuts in debt limit talks

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) urged conservative House Republicans on Tuesday to continue pushing GOP leaders to insist on spending reductions as any new agreement to raise the federal borrowing limit, putting him at odds with some conservatives who said earlier that doing so would just amount to “political theater.”

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) (AP)

“Of course the debt ceiling should be used to enact structural spending reforms to fix the problem, to fix the out of control spending and debt. That’s what all of our constituents expect and it’s what every member of this body tells our constituents we will do. I guarantee you,” Cruz said.

The senator made his comments in response to Reps. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho) and Justin Amash (R-Mich.), who told The Washington Post earlier Tuesday that they do not want House GOP leaders to move toward a dramatic standoff on the debt limit, a break from the combative fiscal politics they have championed for the past several years.

Cruz declined to say directly whether he disagreed with Labrador and Amash, other than to say that previous votes to increase the debt limit have led to agreement to cut government spending.

“If you look to historic precedent, the debt limit has over and over again served as the most effective lever to rein in out-of-control government spending. Out of the 55 times the debt limit’s been raised, 27 times Congress has attached substantial limitations to doing so. Many of the most significant reforms on spending – such as Gramm-Rudman, such as the Budget Control Act – came only through exercising leadership on the debt limit,” he said.

“History makes clear that the debt limit is the only effective, or one of the few effective, lever points for meaningful spending restraint,” he added later.

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