Senate Republicans Speak Out Against Health Care Defunding Strategy

For Immediate Release:

September 25, 2013

With time running out to keep the government funded past October 1, House Republicans continue to threaten a government shutdown over their attempts to undermine the Affordable Care Act.  House Republicans already have voted to defund or delay the Affordable Care Act 42 times – none of which have been signed into law.  On Friday, they passed a continuing resolution defunding the health care law, which will not pass the Senate.  Despite that, the House Republican leadership is still considering threatening a government shutdown over this law by attaching a delay of the individual mandate to any government funding bill sent over by the Senate.  Even their colleagues in the Senate recognize their obsessive focus on the Affordable Care Act is an unrealistic strategy that will not succeed:

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC): “I don't think it would be smart of the Senate to shut down the government if we don't get [Democrats] to bend to our will before we take the vote.” [Fox, 9/23]

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK): “I think it’s a great attempt to raise the issue of some of the weaknesses and the problems with Obamacare, but it’s not a tactic that we can actually carry out and be successful,” [CBS’s Face the Nation, 9/22]

Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN): “I didn’t go to Harvard or Princeton, but I can count -- the defunding box canyon is a tactic that will fail and weaken our position.” [Twitter, 9/19]

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ):  “In the United States Senate, we will not repeal, or defund, Obamacare. We will not. And to think we can is not rational,” [CNN’s “The Lead with Jake Tapper,” 9/19]

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT): “My personal belief is the only way to get rid of Obamacare is to be intelligent and smart about it and gradually just work on it, work it through.  But to expect the government to shut down is not the way to do it.”  [POLITICO, 9/18]

Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK): “It’s mostly symbolic.  We want to have something out there so people continue to talk about it.... That’s a way of keeping the issue alive.... It is something you have to keep doing because you have strong beliefs, and even if logically it isn’t going to work out the way you want it, you still try.” [National Journal, 9/17]

Sen. Mike Johanns (R-NE): “The majority rules, and 56-44 tells the story.  The majority are people who voted for the bill and generally support the agenda of the president who likes this bill and who himself got re-elected.” [Omaha Times, 8/22]

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI): “Even if we were to not pass the continuing resolution [to fund the federal government], you're not going to be able to defund Obamacare, absent of President Obama signing a law, which I think is highly unlikely.  So I appreciate the fact that they've raised the issue. But defunding Obamacare, with President Obama in the White House and Harry Reid in the Senate, I think is next to impossible.” [Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel, 8/13]

Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA): “I appreciate Sen. Cruz's passion, his intent to defund ObamaCare, I would love to do it too. But shutting down the government and playing into the hands of the president politically is not the right thing to do. Plus, it is going to do great harm to the American people if we pursue that course.” [NBC’s Meet the Press, 8/4]

Sen. John Boozman (R-AK): “The President is not going to cave on his signature initiative … The idea of shutting down the government for an extended period of time to stop Obamacare is probably not an effective strategy.” [The City Wire, 8/1]

Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC): “I think [Shutting down the government over Obamacare] is the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard of.  Listen, as long as Barack Obama is president, the Affordable Care Act is going to be law.” [The Huffington Post, 7/25]

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