Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas is running for a third term while also backing a two-term limit for senators.
CBS News "Face the Nation" host Margaret Brennan on Sunday pressed Cruz on his stance.
"If and when it passes, I will happily, happily comply. I've never said I'm going to unilaterally comply," he said.
Two-term Sen. Ted Cruz on Sunday sought to fend off questions about his intention to seek a third term after introducing a constitutional amendment that would restrict senators to two terms in office.
During an interview on the CBS News program "Face the Nation," host Margaret Brennan pressed the Texas Republican about his decision to run for a third term, asking him why he's doing the very same thing he's seeking to restrict.
"You also introduced a bill to limit terms to two six-year terms in office for senators. Why aren't you holding yourself to that standard?" Brennan asked. "You said you're running for a third term."
Cruz responded: "Listen, I'm a passionate defender of term limits. I think that Congress would work much better if every senator were limited to two terms if every House member were limited to three terms. I've introduced a constitutional amendment to put that into the Constitution."
Brennan said: "But you're still running."
Cruz continued: "If and when it passes, I will happily, happily comply. I've never said I'm going to unilaterally comply."
Brennan then interjected: "Are you running for president?"
The senator added: "I'll tell you what, when the socialists and when the swamp are ready to leave Washington, I will be more than happy to comply by the same rules that apply for everyone. But until then, I'm going to keep fighting for 30 million Texans because that's the job they've asked me to do."
When Cruz introduced the bill alongside Rep. Ralph Norman of South Carolina last month, the senator said that term limits would offer "accountability that is long overdue."
"Term limits are critical to fixing what's wrong with Washington, DC. The Founding Fathers envisioned a government of citizen legislators who would serve for a few years and return home, not a government run by a small group of special interests and lifelong, permanently entrenched politicians who prey upon the brokenness of Washington to govern in a manner that is totally unaccountable to the American people," he said at the time.
Cruz is advocating for the passage of the amendment as his long-term political future remains up in the air.
While Cruz ran for president in 2016 - earning the second-highest number of votes and delegates behind then-Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump - he has not yet indicated if he might also seek the GOP nomination against the former president in 2024. Under Texas law, Cruz can run for the presidency and also seek reelection to the Senate at the same time.
Cruz ran on a staunchly conservative platform during his first campaign, which he would surely replicate in a potential 2024 bid.
But in addition to Trump, who's already in the race, he would face Gov. Nikki Haley of South Carolina, who is set to join the contest later this month - along with potential candidates like former Vice President Mike Pence, Govs. Ron DeSantis of Florida and Glenn Youngkin of Virginia, and Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina.
However, Cruz sought to sidestep talk of a presidential bid during the CBS interview, reiterating that he was running for reelection.
"There's a reason I'm in Texas today. I'm not in Iowa. I'm in Texas, and I'm fighting for 30 million Texans," he said.