(CNSNews.com) - Republican Sens. Ted Cruz (Texas) and Mike Lee (Utah) were among the 18 Republican senators who voted against the Reid-McConnell compromise plan to temporarily reopen the government and lift the nation's borrowing limit. Later, they said things might have been different if Republicans had stood together.
"This is a lousy deal for the American people," Cruz told Sean Hannity Wednesday night. "This is sadly a classic instance of the Washington establishment selling the American people down the river. This deal does nothing for the millions of people who are hurting because of Obamacare."
"It's a missed opportunity," Lee said. "I think that if we had stayed united as a party, if we had stood behind the House Republican Conference, which fought quite nobly in order to keep vital aspects of the government funded, in order to keep veterans programs funded and to keep our national parks open, I think we could have made more progress. So it was an important missed opportunity."
Lee said the fight isn't over: "It's really just the end of the beginning. It's a fight that's going to continue."
He also said the deal is "especially tragic" for people who have lost their jobs, had their hours or wages cut, or have seen their health care premiums skyrocket.
"And we're going to see more and more of these come out in the coming months, as we get closer and closer to this January first full implementation date. And this is a tragedy we tried to avoid, and a tragedy that I still hope we can find a way to avoid."
Cruz said the political bickering doesn't matter: "The real focus, the reason we were fighting this fight -- is there are people all over this country that are hurting, there are people right now who are picking up a letter from their insurance company, and discovering that the insurance that they're relying on to provide their family vital health care is being taken away."
Cruz talked about a missionary family who may have to give up their work and take other jobs to get healthcare for their kids, since their own insurance has been canceled.
"That's the reason we were fighting, and its ultimately the reason we're going to win, because this thing isn't working and the American people understand that."
Earlier, in remarks on the Senate floor before the vote, Cruz said the fight "was always about the American people who are hurting because of Obamacare. And unfortunately today, the United States Senate is saying, 'You don't have a voice in Washington.'"
Cruz said it's no surprise that the Reid-McConnell deal would pass by a big margin, but he urged his colleagues to "imagine a different world":
"We saw, in the last two months, millions of Americans rise up, sign a national petition, light up the phones to the Capitol, and speak up against the enormous harms Obamacare is visiting upon them. We saw the House of Representatives stand with courage and listen to the American people.
"Mr. President, I ask you to imagine a world in which Senate Republicans united to support House Republicans. Imagine that one piece being different from what we saw. Imagine, after the House Republicans stood together with the American people, if all 46 Senate Republicans had stood together and said, "We are united against the train wreck that is Obamacare. We are united with the American people that, if President Obama is going to give an exemption for big business, for members of Congress, that the American people deserve that very same exemption."
"I want you to imagine, Mr. President, if Senate Republicans had stood together and simply supported House Republicans, and the American people.
Mr. President, I want you to imagine what would have happened if all 46 Senate Republicans had united and gone together and said, "The House of Representatives has passed a bill funding the V.A. We should fund the V.A., Mr. President." The Senate, the majority leader of the Senate, refused to allow the Senate even to vote to fund the V.A.
"I want to you imagine, Mr. President, all 46 Senate Republicans, if we had stood together and simply supported the House Republicans in saying the House of Representatives has voted to reopen our national parks, to reopen our war memorials, and the majority leader of the Senate refuses to allow the Senate even to vote.
"Mr. President, I want to you imagine simply that Senate Republicans had stood together and said, 'We support the House Republicans in standing with the American people.'
Cruz also offered "a word of encouragement" to the Americans who rose up in support of his attempt to defund Obamacare:
"A couple months ago, Washington establishment scoffed at the notion the American people might rise up. That was viewed as silly, parochial, couldn't happen. A couple months ago Washington establishment scoffed at the notion that the House of Representatives would stand strong saying we should fund every part, but we shouldn't fund Obamacare.
"And yet, Mr. President, what we've seen in the last two months has been extraordinary. Millions of Americans speaking up in overwhelming numbers saying Obamacare isn't working."
Cruz said he's "encouraged by the millions of Americans who want to get back to our free market principles, back to the Constitution and stop this train wreck of a law that is the biggest job killer in this country."
"If the American people continue to rise up, I am confident that in time, the U.S. Senate will follow the lead of the House of Representatives and listen to the American people. That is our job. That is our responsibility. This is a terrible deal today."