U.S. Chamber of Commerce president Tom Donahue said something Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, could work on was learning how to 'sit down and shut up' after the firebrand conservative led a Republican effort to defund President Barack Obama's signature health care law resulting in a 16-day federal government shutdown and near credit default.
"He has his right as a member of the Senate to get out and push the things he supports or resist the things he doesn't support and we're going to try to work with him wherever we can," Donahue said during an event hosted by the Christian Science Monitor.
A reporter said, "people are assuming that the business community would kind of like him to sit down and shut up," Donahue replied, "Well, that might be one thing we could work on."
Donahue said while the Affordable Care Act is deeply flawed, the chamber supports its aims at lowering health care costs and providing access to affordable health insurance. And he said Cruz and other Republicans, should focus more on getting results rather than political grandstanding.
"I sort of think about him as a tennis player. You know if you are going to rush the net all the time you better have a lot of motion to the left and the right and he hasn't proved that to me yet," he said. "Remember the issue – it's not the substance, it's what is the result?"
When asked about the critical remarks, a spokeswoman for Cruz demurred from addressing them directly.
"Sen. Cruz will always work to defend the interests of the Texans who elected him to the Senate and who stand behind his effort to bring relief to all Americans from Obamacare," said Catherine Frazier, press secretary for Cruz, in a statement.
Donahue said the chamber, which traditionally supports small government, low tax policies most commonly associated with Republicans, would be supporting some Democrats as well as Republicans in the upcoming 2014 midterm elections.
"We will support, to some peoples' discomfort, numbers of Democrats in both houses," he said. "The bottom line is this is all about the economy, so for us it's all about the American business community and all about the country."
Many business leaders urged lawmakers to oppose the economic brinksmanship engaged in by Cruz and House conservatives in recent weeks that threatened to grind the still struggling economy to a halt.