U.S. Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) told TheBlaze Monday he has recruited more than a dozen Senate Republicans to help him defund President Barack Obama’s landmark health care law.
Fifteen Republican senators, including Sens. Marco Rubio (Fla.), Ted Cruz (Texas), John Cornyn (Texas), Rand Paul (Ky.), James Inhofe (Okla.), David Vitter (La.), James Risch (Idaho), Roger Wicker (Miss.), Jeff Chiesa (N.J.), John Thune (S.D.), Mike Enzi (Wyo.), Deb Fischer (Neb.), Mark Kirk (Ill.), and Chuck Grassley (Iowa), will block a continuing resolution to keep the government funded beyond Sept. 30 if it includes funding for Obamacare, Lee said.
“The president has said that he’s not willing and not able to enforce Obamacare as it was written,” Sen. Lee told TheBlaze in a phone interview. “And so he has chosen instead to enforce this law selectively.”
“He has picked out two things that he has said he won’t enforce. One is the employer mandate and the other is the requirement that the government obtain some kind of proof for those who are claiming eligibility for Obamacare exchange subsidies," he added.
The senator continued, arguing that the president “doesn’t have the power” to selectively enforce and amend laws passed by Congress.
“Once a law is passed by Congress, in order to amend that law, you have to go back to Congress and you have to amend it in the same way that you passed the original law,” he said.
“If the president isn’t going to enforce this law, the American people shouldn’t be required to fund it.
“Those that feel this way should stand up and say they won’t vote for any continuing resolution that contains funding for further implementation and enforcement of Obamacare,” he added.
The senator expects more will join his effort to block the defund Obamacare. He is also optimistic the House Republican caucus will follow suit.
“The more people learn about this,” he said, “the more the public becomes aware of the discussion that’s happening around this issue, the more, I predict, more of my colleagues will join in because this is a popular effort because Obamacare is an unprecedentedly unpopular law.”
Sen. Lee said President Obama is more or less following the Supreme Court’s lead in unconstitutionally amending the major health care law.
“We’re now approaching the last stop on the train before Obamacare kicks in with full force and fury,” the senator said, “and that last stop will occur between now and Sept. 30 when the continuing resolution expires.”
“That will be our last opportunity to defund Obamacare,” he added.
He said he's not looking to shut down the government and he hopes that can be avoided.
“It’s definitely undesirable,” he said, “It shouldn’t have to come to that.”
“What I am saying is that I won’t vote to pass a continuing resolution that contains Obamacare funding,” he said. “It would be unfortunate if Democrats in the Senate insisted on shutting down the government simply because they want to defend – regardless of the costs – a law that has become increasingly, untenably unpopular among the American people.”
Sens. Rand Paul (C), Grassley (2nd R), and Cruz (3rd R) are part of Sen. Lee's coalition of Senate Republicans willing to block a continuing resolution to keep the government funded past Sept. 30 if it contains funding for Obamacare. (Getty Images)
Lee explained his plan to defund Obamacare wouldn’t affect provisions of the bill that have already been implemented (i.e. provisions on pre-existing conditions and people staying on their parents' plans until age 26). Rather, he explained, his plan would focus mainly on preventing the implementation of the so-called individual mandate.
But does he actually believe he and his coalition of GOP colleagues can successfully block the full implementation of Obamacare?
“Yes,” he told TheBlaze, “because, again, every single Republican that’s in Congress today (as far as I know) is strongly against Obamacare. And if you really are against Obamacare, you cannot justify (at this stage) voting for a continuing resolution that contains Obamacare funding.”
“And if you do vote for C.R. that contains Obamacare funding, you’re supporting Obamacare,” he said. “You’re giving the green light for the government to go ahead and let Obamacare out of the cage.”
Here’s Sen. Lee announcing his coalition Monday morning on “Fox and Friends”:
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Featured image Getty Images. This post has been updated.