Sen. Ted Cruz: 'I Think We're Seeing Real Progress'

By Susan Jones | October 3, 2013 | 8:33 AM EDT

Sen. Ted Cruz (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

( - Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) told WMAL radio in Washington, D.C., on Thursday morning that the government shutdown happened because Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and President Barack Obama wanted it to, but that Republicans are making "real progress" nevertheless.

"Look, I think we're seeing real progress. What Republicans want is very clear -- we want to fund the government. We want to end the shutdown and we want to also prevent the tremendous harms that Obamacare is inflicting on millions of Americans."

Cruz noted that four times, the House of Representatives has passed bills to avert a government shutdown by funding every aspect of government except for Obamacare:

"And four times when that arrived at the Senate, Harry Reid has said, 'Pound sand. Go jump in a lake. We won't negotiate, we won't compromise, we won't discuss. Give us 100 percent of what I want, or we will shut down the government. That's Harry Reid's position.

"Even last night, they had a meeting, but folks came out of the meeting, said there was no negotiating because the president's position was, he will not negotiate anything. And unfortunately, the reason is, I think Harry Reid and Barack Obama believe the shutdown benefits them."

On another topic, Cruz said President Obama's apparent attempt on Wednesday to encourage a stock market slide is a "level of cynicism that's extraordinary."

"It think it is unfortunate to see a president who approaches every issue through a partisan political lens, and who on the basic matters of governance is AWOL," Cruz said in a Thursday interview.

Cruz was asked about Obama's response to a reporter, who asked him if Wall Street is right to be generally calm about the funding impasse that has led to a government shutdown. "This time's different," Obama said. "I think they should be concerned."

Cruz contrasted Obama's performance with that of former President Bill Clinton, who presided over the last government shutdown and was deeply involved in negotiating.

"Now Obama and Reid took the lesson and said, we can just say, go jump in a lake, and everyone will blame it on the other guy. And there comes a point -- or as you just quoted him -- Obama can be actively out there cheerleading for the stock market to plummet, and he's convinced -- now, look, he is right -- the media will blame everything on Republicans. They'll read the White House talking points...I mean, the mainstream media will-- I expect Republicans are responsible for both global warming and global cooling at the same time. It's depressing."