Rove: Shutdown Threat a 'Political Loser'

Monday, 29 Jul 2013 11:12 PM

By Greg Richter

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Republican agree that Obamacare must be done away with, but a group of senators threatening to defund it are playing with a "political loser," says GOP strategist Karl Rove.

"The rule in Washington is, if something bad happens blame the Republicans," Rove said Monday on Fox News Channel's "O'Reilly Factor."

Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, has been behind an effort to fund the government for Fiscal Year 2014, which begins Oct. 1, only if money for the Affordable Care Act isn't included. Rove said he sees problem with the plan.

First, most of Obamacare is unaffected by such a maneuver, Rove said. About 99 percent of Obamacare is funded by mandatory spending. The plan proposed by Lee would affect only discretionary spending.

The Congressional Budget Office says that of the $1.5 trillion total cost of Obamacare, less than $10 billion would be cut by the defunding, Rove said. And the administration would still have enough money to move around to fund most of that by simply giving up the ad campaign it has undertaken to promote it to a skeptical public.

Second, there is a difference between now and 1995, the last time the Republicans pulled off a government shutdown. Back then, Congress had passed, and President Bill Clinton had signed, funding for half of government operations and all of defense spending. This time, there would be zero funding for any part of the government.

"Literally, the first week of October, there'd be no paychecks for the people in the military, no paychecks for the FBI, no paychecks for the border patrol," Rove said.

"Being conservative doesn't mean you do something that's going to blow up in your face," Rove said. "I believe we ought to find every useful way to oppose Obamacare. We ought to have hearings on its shortcomings."

And he said Lee is in a good position to challenge Obama for delaying the employer mandate for a year. Obama has been accused by Republicans of delaying the mandate until after the 2014 midterm elections because it might hurt Democrats at the ballot box.

Republicans should challenge the legality of the president unilaterally ignoring part of his own law, Rove said.

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