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Sen. Lee in Obamacare Colloquy: ‘Defund It Or Own It’

But Coburn, wielding a report that said Obamacare could go on without a CR, said the effort by Lee, Rubio and Cruz isn't anchored in reality.

by
Bridget Johnson

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July 30, 2013 - 6:29 pm
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WASHINGTON — A trio of GOP senators challenged their colleagues — especially Republicans — to join an effort to block funding for Obamacare in the continuing resolution that’s expected to keep the government running in the usual absence of a budget come Sept. 30.

“We don’t have to vote to fund something with which we fundamentally disagree,” said Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), who led the afternoon colloquy on the floor of the upper chamber. “…Defund it or own it — if you fund it, you’re for it.”

But Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), touting his credentials as an original opponent of the 2010 law, wielded a new Congressional Research Service report that states Obamacare can’t be defunded by stemming the appropriations process — leaving repeal, which has never made it through the Senate, the only option.

Coburn took issue with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) for saying that Congress is to blame for the law.

“I would just say thank the Democrats, because not one Republican voted for it,” the Oklahoma senator said. “…The president and his allies created this mess that we’re about to deal with.”

The report released by Coburn’s office today says “substantial implementation might continue during a lapse in annual appropriations that resulted in a temporary government shutdown.”

“You cannot design a piece of legislation to defund Obamacare because the vast majority of it is mandatory spending,” Coburn told his colleagues, adding “their motivations are absolutely pure” and stressing that he’s never voted for a continuing resolution out of opposition to the stopgap measure in principle.

“The only effective way to truly stop Obamacare … would be to totally reverse it,” he added. “We don’t have the votes to do that. But we do have the votes to delay it.”

Cruz admitted in the colloquy that the votes weren’t currently there to pass a wholesale defunding of Obamacare, but said Republicans and some Democrats could come around if the American people rose up “en masse” over the next 62 days to demand a freeze to the healthcare law.

“Nothing is hurting the American economy more than Obamacare,” Cruz said. “There is bipartisan agreement on that.”

Cruz said the 190 million hours or more of Obamacare paperwork burdens expected every year  were enough for Mount Rushmore to “be constructed 1,547 times.”

The show of force by Lee, Cruz and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) just before the August recess stirred reminders of the 2010 congressional recess, where town hall meetings seethed with anger over Obamacare, signed into law that March, and a budding Tea Party movement took the House out of Democrats’ hands in midterm elections.

It was also the year Lee and Rubio won their seats.

Rubio compared Obamacare to New Coke, a 1985 reformulation of the classic cola that was so reviled the company shifted back to Coke Classic.

“What did Coca-Cola do when New Coke began to flounder? They didn’t say, ‘Well, we’re just gonna continue to make more of it.’ They backed away from it. They went back to the original formula. They learned from their mistake, and they didn’t double down. That’s the way it is in the real world,” Rubio said. “That’s the way it is in our lives, and that’s the way it is in the private sector, but not government. Not Washington!”

He said that he’ll vote for every repeal bill, but called the chance of any such legislative effort working “minimal as long as President Obama is president of the United States.”

Rubio argued that if a continuing resolution defunding Obamacare passed, and Obama refused to sign it, then a government shutdown would be on his hands, not the Senate’s.

“To my colleagues in Republican Party — this is our last best chance to do something about this,” he implored. “…You cannot go home and say you did everything you did to stop Obamacare if you vote for a budget that funds it.”

Lee noted the array of uncertainty and premium hikes already being realized in the law’s early days, adding that the Affordable Care Act is a “misnomer.”

“We don’t know exactly how much healthcare is going to cost us,” he said, noting that the bill still has yet “to be modified by tens of thousands of pages of regulations.”

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Top Rated Comments   
The Republican Party has two key objectives for this session of Congress. First, pass Amnesty and deliver Obama his 30 million New Democrats. Second, continue funding ObamaCare. The Republican Party will not tolerate any opposition to these two key goals. This is simple reality. Now, understanding that, why are you a Republican?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (20)
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Senators-Lee,Paul and Cruz thus far, are thee only ones I would keep. The rest need "Treason" charges brought up. They have all each and everyone violated their oaths to the Constitution and We The People on a daily basis. I say "Throw Them All Out!"Remove and replace with "Constitutional Representatives" yesterday.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Sen. Coburn, who I have admired since he originally appeared on The Hill, is wrong.
If no Republican voted to pass PPACA, why should any Republican today vote to fund PPACA?
Oh, it's Mandatory Spending?
Hogwash!
How many times are we told (by members of the House and Senate) that Congress can do whatever it sets its mind to?
Well, Congress, don't fund this abortion!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Obama's delay of the Employer mandate was illegal. The Republican House made it legal. We might be able to rally the public along the lines of, "President Obama acted illegally and we'll shut the whole place down before we surrender our country to a tyrant." But we'll never rally the country around, "A partial defunding mechanism that funds all other areas of the continuing resolution while defunding Obamacare." Therefore, the Lee-Cruz plan is now inoperable. We should be talking about which idiots in the House thought it was a good idea to legalize an illegal act thereby depriving us of a simple, understandable basis for threatening, and enforcing if needs be, a shutdown.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
To Coburn - There are lots of things that are "mandatory" these days like ... implementing parts of Obamacare that now don't have to be implemented on schedule just because the Pres says so or passing a budget through the senate, something he ought to be intimately familiar with being a senator. So, I am thinking that when it comes to government, "mandatory" does not mean what the rest of the world thinks it means.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The Republican Party has two key objectives for this session of Congress. First, pass Amnesty and deliver Obama his 30 million New Democrats. Second, continue funding ObamaCare. The Republican Party will not tolerate any opposition to these two key goals. This is simple reality. Now, understanding that, why are you a Republican?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I'm not - I'm a conservative who occasionally votes the GOP line.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Another example of the courage in Congress/Senate of the guardians of the Rights of Americans.

"Words, words, words, I'm so sick of words. I get words all day long.... SHOW ME".

The ONLY words that have relevance with respect to this ACA aka Obama out of Hillary Care is REPEAL.

REPEAL in its entirety, the whole nine yards of those 2000 plus pages. Those pages that contain who knows WHAT abrogations of freedoms taken for granted by Americans in decision in their personal lives.

We do know the brave "Represenatatives of the People" now beating their breasts as the great warriors don't know what's in it.
WHO of the Congress/Senate either read or had it read to them in its entirety? Name names.

We DO have one name. That of Nancy Pelosi ,who WHIPPED the bill through Congress, with her "We'll have to pass it to know what's in it". Accepted by her constituents and members of the Congress/Senate as "good government".

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Using her own words:

We have to repeal the PPACA to find out what is in it!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Coburn: You are expendable. Our nation is not. Expect to be primaried. Expect to lose. Expect to return to your ob-gyn practice shorn of the freedom to practice according to your best medical judgment; expect to share the fate you have inflicted on your peers.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I'm torn on this one. Coburn is my Senator and he's been a good one. And I fear there is some truth with the media spinning, this will turn into political suicide of 'shutting down government once again.'

However, I also know that once Obamacare implemented, the chances of it ever being repealed are slim and none. It's a disaster and the tsunami is still a few miles out.

I'd like to think Obamacare is such a clunker, it's going to collapse from its own dead weight. But this country is so ignorant and blind anymore, I have very little faith in the citizenry.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
As unpopular as government is, would it be suicide for it just stop for a while? What has made government more unpopular these past few years - what it has done or what it hasn't? If it's the second, then a shutdown might not be all that bad.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
AHarris,

I'm convinced we could shut down 75% of government and no one would notice but the freeloaders. Trust me, if they elected me for King for about 72 hours, there would be a lot of people in D.C. joining the rest of the country in wondering how to pay the mortgage.

But I'm also remembering 1995, which with the spin of the media offset the huge gains made by Republicans and gave us four more years of Slick for President.

It's a huge risk politically.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
What's the worst the media could do.....Elect Hillary in '16?
In their playbook, that's a fait accompli.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The country would collapse by the weight of Obamacare long before Obamacare itself collapses. The reason: The big donors and stakeholders behind it are making out like bandits -- they will be the last men standing when the republic falls.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
In a violent collapse, not even the rich and powerful can escape the mob.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
No doubt, Darcy if Obamacare implemented, it will be a disaster. Frankly, I'm pretty convinced the only people that are going to have substantial healthcare one day are the well heeled and well connected.

Because sooner or later, my own daughter included, doctors are going to get fed up with Medicare cuts and simply say, "In God We Trust. All other pay cash."
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
We are going to have to make some hard choices starting in 2014. Remember those who are not willing to fight for the American people now, but will "fundamentally transform" back into conservatives when their respective seats are up for grabs come election time......defund the RNC while we're at it and only contribute to candidates you can trust. I know, they always say what we want to hear before an election, that's why we have to start making lists now. Senator Coburn, are you paying attention, sir? Senator Rubio, are you praying that the amnesty bill dies? It is our last chance for WE THE PEOPLE to take back control of our government - ONE ISSUE and ONE SEAT at a time.

Remember BENGHAZI!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Erick Erickson begs to differ. He has an FAQ at Redstate that shows exactly how and why ObamaCare CAN be defunded.

I only know what I read, so for me it's a big he-said, he-said, but anyway I'm not yet ready to throw it in with Byron York and Tom Coburn.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Heritage Action also has detailed commentary on how exactly we CAN defund this nefarious and noxious legislation.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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