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Cruz: GOP not willing to 'stand up' to defund Obamacare

Sen. Ted Cruz
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Sen. Ted Cruz

The conservative plan to use the resolution that funds the government to cripple the president's health-care law has a problem, according to GOP Sen. Ted Cruz: other Republicans.

"The problem right now is we don't have Republicans willing to stand up and do this," Cruz said Monday on The Andrea Tantaros Show, a conservative radio program. "We need 41 Republicans in the Senate or 218 Republicans in the House, to stand together, to join me, to join Mike Lee, to join Marco Rubio, all of whom have said, we will not vote for a single continuing resolution that funds even a penny of Obamacare."

Cruz outlined how he sees the plan going forward, starting with a House resolution that funds the federal government but explicitly outlaws funding for the health-care law.

"The next step is that Harry Reid and President Obama will scream and yell that the mean, nasty Republicans are trying to shut down the federal government in order to defund Obamacare," Cruz said. "And then what we need to have happen is for Republicans to stand together, for us to say, 'No, we're perfectly happy to fund the federal government.'"

Cruz outlined the GOP argument from there: "We have funded the federal government, and why is President Obama trying to fund the federal government?

(Read more: White House calls on celebs to help pitch Obamacare to youth)

Because he wants to force Obamacare down the throats of the American people while at the same time he wants to give a waiver for every big corporation in this country," he said, referring to the administration's decision to delay the requirement that businesses provide their employees with health insurance.

Cruz's argument is designed to rebut the charge that the GOP is shutting down the government—a potential spectacle that has GOP moderates and more establishment figures worried.

"The strategy that has been laid out is a good way for Republicans to lose the House," Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla, told the Washington Examiner. Coburn called the plan "dishonest" and "hype."

"I'm getting phone calls from Oklahoma saying, 'Support Mike Lee,' and I'm ramming right back: Support him in destroying the Republican Party?" Coburn said.

(Read more: Could Obamacare be boon for identity thieves?)

Last week, Lee floated the idea of shutting down the government if Obamacare is funded. But on FOX News Sunday, he appeared to back off slightly of that position, saying, "We all know that the government is going to get funded. The only question is whether the government gets funded with Obamacare or without it?"

The Senate conservatives are planning to use the August recess to try and pressure other Republicans to support the defund-Obamacare plan. The push comes after Washington tea party groups gathered at the Capitol with Republican senators to press for the plan.

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A GOP aide said that tea party groups are trying to track down schedules for town hall meetings that establishment Republicans might be hosting in their home states. Some of those plans are proving hard to get, the aide said. If there aren't any town hall meetings, the aide said, the groups will plan protests at members' offices.

"The current continuing resolution, which funds the government, expires Sept. 30," Cruz said Monday. "So now is the window: if we're going to defund Obamacare, now is the time we can actually get it done."

—By Kasie Hunt, NBC News.

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