Sen. Coburn: Cruz Strategy on Obamacare 'Not Realistic'

Sunday, 22 Sep 2013 01:54 PM

By Audrey Hudson and Amy Woods

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Sen. Tom Coburn on Sunday criticized the tactics by fellow Republican Sen. Ted Cruz who originally urged House lawmakers to defund Obamacare in a government-spending bill, but is now calling on senators to filibuster the measure.

"The ironic thing is the answer now in the Senate by those who proposed the strategy is to filibuster the very bill they said they wanted, and that's what's wrong with the tactic," said Coburn, a Oklahoma Republican.

Either way, Coburn said, "It's not a tactic that we can actually carry out and be successful."

Cruz led the effort to link the spending bill to language that would kill Obamacare, but the Texas Republican told "Fox News Sunday" that if Democrats try to pass the measure with a 50-vote threshold then Republicans should filibuster their own bill.

Coburn praised House Republicans during his appearance on CBS's "Face the Nation" for their "great attempt" to highlight weaknesses in the president's signature healthcare law, but predicted there will not be a government shutdown to prevent the law from taking effect.

"We actually have a crisis of conscience in our country right now, both in Congress and with the president … we're not going to shut the government down," Coburn said.

Coburn said House Republicans have every right to go through this "exercise," but predicted the House will send over a different bill next week to keep the government operating without defunding Obamacare.

"I agree with them, if we could do this, we should do it, but we can't," Coburn said. "Tactics and strategy ought to be based on what the real world is, and we do not have the political power to do this."

Sen. Joe Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat, said he was frustrated with limited options to deal with Obamacare, and instead of voting to kill the entire law, said it should be dealt with piecemeal to fix specific problems.

"We need real adults at the table working that out," Manchin said on CBS.

Sen. Claire McCaskill, appearing on Fox News, launched a verbal assault on Senate Republicans, specifically Cruz, for threatening to shut down the government in their efforts to end Obamacare.

"I cannot believe that they are going to throw a tantrum and throw the American people and our economic recovery under the bus," McCaskill said on "Fox News Sunday." "This is just political point-making. This is about running for president, with Ted Cruz. This is not about meaningful statesmanship."

She argued Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is not using "brute political force," as Cruz described earlier in the program, but instead is following the will of the voters.

"It's not brut political force that is refusing to defund Obamacare, it's called the American people and elections," she said. "There are millions of Americans that need health insurance right now … and they're going to have an opportunity to get them on the exchanges. ... The people who are using this as a political two-by-four have no solution to this problem."

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