On Wednesday, the freshman senator filibustered a "clean" debt limit bill and forced a 60-vote threshold. That meant five Republicans had to supply votes to avert default -- none of them wanted to do so. The drama-filled vote stayed open for about an hour, ending with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and 11 other Republican senators taking the plunge and voting for "cloture."
"Make no mistake about it, this was their desired outcome," Cruz said. "A lot of Republicans wanted exactly what Barack Obama wanted, exactly what Nancy Pelosi wanted, exactly want Harry Reid wanted, which is to raise the debt ceiling but they wanted to be able to tell what they view as their foolish, gullible constituents back home that they didn't do it. And they're mad because, by refusing to consent to that, they had to come out in the open they had to admit what they're doing. And nothing upsets them more."
He warned that "hell will freeze over" before the "entrenched politicians in Washington" stand up and do the right thing. He said he recently had his staff "print out a list of three pages of Republican senators" who are criticizing him now but promised earlier to use the debt ceiling to fight for fiscal reforms.
"And then, a few months later, it's like they think the American people are just a bunch of rubes," Cruz said. "That we don't remember what they say."
Levin was fully on Cruz's side and attacked his detractors. "I think what you're trying to do is save the Republican Party," he said.