McCain: 'Not Rational' to Think Senate Can Defund Obamacare

Thursday, 19 Sep 2013 05:42 PM

By Greg Richter

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Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said he is willing to do anything, including filibuster, to defund Obamacare, but fellow Republican Sen. John McCain says belief that such efforts will succeed are "not rational."

Cruz is free to do whatever he wants within the rules of the Senate, McCain, R-Arizona, told CNN's "The Lead with Jake Tapper" on Thursday. But, he added, "I will again state unequivocally that this is not something that we can succeed in."

Story continues below video.

Without 67 Republican votes in the Senate to override a promised presidential veto, there's no point, he said.

Most of the senators pushing the defunding effort were not around during the Congressional battle to shut down the government in the 1990s when Republicans took the blame, McCain told Tapper.

GOP members pushing defunding argue that their bill funds the rest of the government and that President Barack Obama will be blamed if the government shuts down on Oct. 1. They also point out that Republicans regained the House and Senate in the next election, so they really didn't "lose" after all.

McCain suggested forcing votes "from time to time" since the public clearly does not support it.

"No one fought harder against it than I did," McCain said. "But to somehow think we are going to defund it is simply not going to happen at this time, and it will, in my opinion, as it did before, harm the American people's view of the Republican Party."

McCain declined to second-guess House Speaker John Boehner's decision to allow a vote in his chamber after persistent members of his party continued pushing for it.

"I think it's pretty obvious that he has great difficulties within his own conference," McCain said. "But I can tell you, in the United States Senate we will not repeal – or defund – Obamacare. We will not. And to think we can is not rational."

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