Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) declared on Monday that he and other congressional Republicans would be willing to shut down the federal government in order to block further implementation of President Barack Obama's health care reform law.
Speaking on Fox News, Lee said Republicans determined that refusing to fund Obamacare was the "last stop" before the individual mandate and the law's health insurance exchanges are set to go into effect at the beginning of next year.
“Congress of course has to pass a law to continue funding government -- lately we’ve been doing that through a funding mechanism called a continuing resolution," Lee said. "If Republicans in both houses simply refuse to vote for any continuing resolution that contains further funding for further enforcement of Obamacare, we can stop it. We can stop the individual mandate from going into effect.”
Lee added that his effort, which he said was backed by "13 or 14" Senate Republicans and a host of House Republicans, wouldn't target popular Obamacare provisions that already had gone into effect, like a measure that allows children to remain on their parents' health insurance until the age of 26.
Congress passed a continuing resolution in March, temporarily funding the government for the rest of the fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30. Lee is suggesting that Republicans refuse to vote on a future measure to fund the government, setting up another standoff that would put critical government functions at risk.
The threat comes just days after House Republicans took their 38th vote to repeal part or all of Obamacare. Their latest move followed the Obama administration's announcement that it was delaying the law's employer mandate for a year, a decision that Republicans used to support their claims that Obamacare is unworkable.
Lee similarly suggested in a Friday interview on WBAL 1090 AM that he and other Republicans would be willing to shut down the government.
“I’ll utilize every procedural mechanism at my disposal to do it,” he said. “I generally don’t signal in advance what procedural maneuvers exactly I’ll use because it’s usually not good strategy. But what I am saying is I will not vote for a continuing resolution that contains funding for further Obamacare implantation and enforcement. So far I have got, I don’t know, 13 or 14 Senate Republicans who have joined me. I think a corresponding effort is starting to be kicked off in the House. And I expect these numbers to grow steadily as Americans realize the president has said he’s not going to implement the law as written. If he’s not going to implement the law, we shouldn’t be forced to fund it.”