Sen. Ted Cruz: Defunding ObamaCare is a 'multistage fight'

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," September 23, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: Tonight the showdown over ObamaCare shifts from the House of Representatives to the U.S. Senate, this after House Republicans scored a major victory on Friday by passing a bill to defund the cornerstone of the president's domestic policy agenda.

Now, in just a moment, I will be joined by Texas Senator Ted Cruz. But first, here is where we stand as of tonight. The legislation is in the hands of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid who will no doubt attempt to strip out the provision that defunds the controversial health care overhaul. However, he's going to first face fierce resistance from the right when he brings that measure to the floor for a vote.

Now, make no mistake about it, if this law is implemented, you and your families, you're going to feel the pain. Just today, quoted a center for Medicare and Medicaid services report that states that health spending under ObamaCare will increase a whopping $621 billion. Now, to put this another way, a typical family of four will see their healthcare costs rise by more than $7,400 a year which means candidate Obama flat out lied to you, the voters when he promised this back in 2008.


PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: I put forward a plan. It says if you've got health insurance, we are going to work with your employer and lower premiums by $2500 per family per year. We will do it by the end of my first term as president of the United States of America.


HANNITY: And joining me now from Washington with the very latest is Texas Senator Ted Cruz. Senator, welcome back. Good to see you.

SEN. TED CRUZ, R-TEXAS: Sean, it's always great to join you.

HANNITY: All right. We have a lot to ask you tonight. Let me start to where do we stand right now, where do we stand with your fellow Republicans in the U.S. Senate?

CRUZ: Well, the fight is in the Senate now. And the real question is whether Senate Republicans are going to unite and stand alongside House Republicans. The fight is, you know, this afternoon I introduced two unanimous consent requests and asked the Senate, number one, let's pass the house continuing resolution. And Harry Reid objected. He said, no, he didn't want to pass the continuing resolution. He didn't want to take off the table a government shutdown. And the second thing I introduced was a unanimous request to put in and say any amendments have to be subject to a 60-vote threshold.

And again, Harry Reid said, no, he objected and the reason he said no is he wants to be able to use a 51-vote, partisan vote of all Democrats to fund ObamaCare. And I think that's wrong. I think that's what Republicans need to unify to protect the House bill that passed. And if every Senate republican stands with the House Republicans, we can stop Harry Reid from funding ObamaCare.

HANNITY: All right. That's a key question though. In other words, and Mike Lee actually predicted earlier today that in fact, the Republicans would be united. You are in the caucus, you speak to your fellow Republicans. Where did they stand as of now? Are you confident they'll stay together?

CRUZ: Well, I think the votes are fluid right now. And, you know, a couple of weeks ago, everyone agreed there was no chance the House would vote to defund ObamaCare. And then on Friday, they did so. Right now I think in the Senate, the votes are fluid. But you know, we're going to have two votes this week. We'll going to have a procedural vote on Wednesday on what's called cloture on the motion to proceed which is to take up the bill. And then there's going to be another vote on Friday which is cloture on the bill itself.

A motion by Harry Reid to cut off debate on the bill itself. Sean, it's the vote on Friday that matters. The vote on Friday, Harry Reid is trying to cut off all debate on Friday and to be able to fund ObamaCare with just 51 votes. And in my view, I hope and believe that all 46 Republicans should vote together on Friday against cutting off debate, against giving Harry Reid the power to fund ObamaCare.

HANNITY: All right. You know, I was reading profile about you in "GQ" magazine.

CRUZ: You've got to update your magazine subscriptions, Sean.

HANNITY: But, you know, one of the things it did highlight is, for example that you didn't get along very well with Senator McCain. Number two, they quoted Senator Grassley as saying nobody has been this activist as a Freshman Senator maybe since Barry Goldwater. Is there some resentment among your colleagues that you have been forcing them on this very thing that most of them promised they would do?

CRUZ: Well, look, Sean, you know, I have civil relations with every one of my colleagues. And there are some folks in Washington that are trying to make this issue about personality. Trying to make this about individual politicians. Look, most Americans don't care about politicians in Washington. They care about their lives, they care about their jobs. They care about their families. ObamaCare isn't working. It's killing jobs, it's driving up health insurance premiums. It's causing people to lose their health care. And so, my view, I am ignoring all of the slings and arrows that are tossed around. It's not personal about anyone in Washington. It's about our doing our job, listening to the American people and bringing back jobs and economic growth.

HANNITY: Do you know something, Senator? I can't name a single republican in either the House or the Senate, please correct me if I'm wrong that didn't run on a platform to repeal and replace ObamaCare. I can't think of one.

CRUZ: Right.

HANNITY: What you are doing will do that. I don't hear other proposals that would accomplish that. And then Chris Wallace revealed this weekend that Republicans are feeding him opposition research to hurt you even though you are just basically helping them fulfill their campaign promise. I want to get your reaction to that.

CRUZ: Well, look. I mean, folks can do whatever they want to resist change. And there's a lot of people that have been in Washington a long time that are fearful of change, they're fearful of risk, they're fearful of anything that changes the clubby way Washington does business. But look, our country is going broke. We have a $17 trillion national debt and ObamaCare is a total train wreck. And you know, no matter what insults others choose to hurl at me and in the last few weeks they have picked quite a few. Some of them have been pretty amusing actually. But no matter what they do, I'm not going to respond in kind. My job is to represent 26 million Texans and the fight to defend them and ObamaCare is hurting Texans, it's hurting Americans.

HANNITY: What about this Forbes study that came out today? Seven thousand four hundred and fifty dollars per typical family of four. Now, that's extra money that they paid for health care, that's not a $2500 cut as the President said. Give me all the reasons why you think that Republicans should fight and stop this.

CRUZ: Look, I mean, that's a great example where the President promised a $2500 cut for the average family of four. Instead you are looking at basically a $7500 increase. That's a $10,000 swing, Sean. Ten thousand dollars is a lot of money for anybody. But you know who it hits the hardest? It hits people who are struggling. It hits young people, it hits Hispanics, African-Americans, it hits single mom, it hits people who are really working to put food on the table and provide for their kids.

And those are the people hurt the most by ObamaCare, those are the people being pushed to 29 hours a week, those are the people losing their health insurance all together. So, we got to fight for them. You know, Washington is good at giving special deals to giant corporations like President Obama did to members of Congress like President Obama did. We ought to treat American families at least as well as the president treats giant corporations and members of Congress.

HANNITY: Look at Walgreens -- Walgreens now announced last week they will going to drop health insurance coverage for $160,000 of their workers. The Cleveland clinic is going to cut six percent of their workforce. They cite ObamaCare. Home Depot, 20,000 employees. SeaWorld will only have part-time workers. They're only allowed to work now 28 hours a week. All as an impact of this legislation. Is that your understanding?

CRUZ: Yes. Everywhere you go, you hear from people. It's hurting their lives. People with disability coming up to you saying, please stop this law. I'm at risk of losing my health insurance. This thing isn't working. But you know what? Washington has not been listening to the American people. It's why Congress has, you know, 10, 12, 14 percent approval ratings. Because we haven't been listening to the American people, let me tell you Sean, this week is the fight, if you're fed up with Washington, if you want Washington to listen, it has never been more important than right now to pick up the phone, call your senator and say, vote no on cloture. Vote against funding ObamaCare and stop Harry Reid from amending this bill to fund ObamaCare.

HANNITY: Let's go to the next step. You describe what's going to happen this week and you pointed out Friday is the important vote. Back in 1995, as the government shutdown, we are heading into that, Republicans were blamed 46 to 27 percent. Right now, a pew poll today says, people pretty much blame the Republicans and the President equally. There is been a lot of talk about what would happen if this would result in a government shut-down. What is your answer to those people that say, well, we can't shutdown the government? How do you respond to that?

CRUZ: Well, look, I don't think we should shutdown the government. And today, the motion I filed, Harry Reid objected. If he had not objected we would have taken a government shutdown off the table. It's Harry Reid and the president who are saying, unless they can force funding for ObamaCare, unless they can force ObamaCare on every American family, they are going to shutdown the government. The way we stop it is standing up to them and saying, look, fund every bit of government.

HANNITY: And the House did that.

CRUZ: The House did that. The House has voted to fund government. It's Harry Reid who is trying to stop this, who objected today to doing that.

HANNITY: Yes. All right. When you were on this program last week, both you and Senator Lee were very, very clear that you will do everything in your power to get there. Does that mean filibuster? And tell me where you think this ends. I don't know if you have a crystal ball. But tell me about what you're willing to do. And where do you think it will all end up?

CRUZ: Well, I'm going to use every procedural means that available to me to fight this fight.

HANNITY: Including filibuster.

CRUZ: This is a multi stage fight.

Everything including filibuster. This is a multi stage fight. The first stage was unifying the American people. We got over 1.6 million people who signed a national petition at don'tfund The second step was the House vote on Friday, defunding ObamaCare. Just a couple weeks ago Washington said that was impossible. The third step is this week, unifying Senate Republicans, getting all 46 Republicans to stand together and the next step is getting red state Democrats to come together to listen to the American people and stop the train wreck that is ObamaCare.

HANNITY: Last question, the President says, he will not negotiate on the debt and he actually made a statement that the debt, if we increase the debt limit that won't necessarily increase the debt. Maybe my calculator is off. But I would assume it would.

CRUZ: Well, look, the President's approach to negotiation is just refusing to talk about the problems. If we get Senate Republicans to stand together this week, that will change that dynamic. Let me say to you Sean, I can't imagine any republican who campaigned against ObamaCare voting on Friday along with Harry Reid and every Senate democrat to empower Harry Reid to fund ObamaCare. It's the Friday vote that matters. And this week, the phone calls to the senators are going to make all the difference.

HANNITY: Senator, I applaud your efforts. I'm with you in this. To me, this is a tipping point for the country. And every republican ran on this. Why they are opposing you, I don't know. But I appreciate you fighting the good fight. And it's going to be very interesting and historically. Thank you for being with us.

CRUZ: Thank you, Sean.

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