Sen. Mike Lee: Plan to Defund Obamacare Isn't Shutdown Threat

Image: Sen. Mike Lee: Plan to Defund Obamacare Isn't Shutdown Threat

Thursday, 22 Aug 2013 02:41 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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Utah Sen. Mike Lee says his effort to defund Obamacare is picking up steam among Republican lawmakers, but denies that he is determined to shut down the government over the issue.

"A lot of people have blatantly mischaracterized it as a shutdown threat,” he said Wednesday at town hall meeting, according to The Deseret News. "It is not."

The plan being pushed by Lee and fellow GOP Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Ted Cruz of Texas calls for passage of a stopgap spending measure to keep the government operating past the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30. But their proposal would eliminate any funding in the so-called continuing resolution for the implementation of Obamacare.

He said Democrats who bring up the term "shutdown" are just angry because they're not getting "what they want."

"And I say that's not fair," he added.

But many in own party have rejected the idea of tying efforts to defund the Affordable Care Act to stopgap spending measure, saying it's almost certain to force a shutdown for which Republicans will be blamed if they refuse to back down.

Nonetheless, Lee touted the addition of Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts to a list of 14 Republican senators who have joined the move to defund Obamacare, the Hill reported.

Hill and his partners have the backing of Heritage Foundation President Jim DeMint, the former Republican senator from South Carolina who this week urged voters to replace lawmakers willing to defund Obamacare. According to the Hill, DeMint told a town hall meeting in Arkansas that Republicans shouldn't be worried about a voter backlash if a shutdown does occur over the issue.

"The risk of that is so much less than the risk to our country if we implement Obamacare, and so I’m not as interested in the political futures of folks who think they might lose a showdown with the president," he said.

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