WASHINGTON — The political crisis that forced a partial shutdown of the U.S. government is over; government agencies are open for business again and, instead of running out of money, the government is paying its bills. But at least one of the lawmakers who helped lead the shutdown-charge is signaling the fight is far from done, even if it means forcing a shutdown all over again.
At the height of the U.S. shutdown fight, before protesters started throwing down barricades blocking a war memorial, Texas Senator Ted Cruz had their attention.
He said, "Let me ask a simple question: why is the federal government spending money to erect barricades to keep veterans out of this Memorial?"
It was part of a stand Cruz started making earlier, forcing a shutdown as part of an effort to defund the new U.S. health care law known as "Obamacare," even reading from a children's book as part of a 21-hour talk on the Senate floor to delay a vote.
Now he tells ABC News he might be willing to force a shutdown all over again.
"I would do anything, and I will continue to do anything, to stop the train wreck that is Obamacare," he said.
The approach has rankled some Republicans and drawn criticism from colleagues.
When Republican Rep. Peter King was asked if the strategy was working for Republicans, he responded: "It depends on how you look at it. Not from my perspective."
The Houston Chronicle newspaper, which endorsed his 2012 Senate race, now calls him "part of the problem" in Washington.
None of this seems to matter to Cruz's political base -- conservative Republican voters known as the Tea Party. His favorability rating among them jumped from 47 percent in July to 74 percent now according to one recent poll.
"This fight, this debate, will continue until collectively the American people can make [Washington] D.C. listen," Cruz said.
That may be enough to make Cruz a force to reckon with, perhaps even a potential presidential candidate down the line.