But Utah’s junior senator dismissed that criticism Sunday, telling Fox News Sunday that Obama opened the door to defunding when he unilaterally delayed the employer mandate component of the Affordable Care Act. Lee called this an admission by the administration that the law isn’t ready to be implemented and so shouldn't be funded by Congress.
Republicans unanimously agree with Lee’s assessment of Obamacare implementation and funding. But they warn against the political consequences a government shutdown could have for the party.
Many Republicans argue that defeating the continuing resolution neded to keep the government funded beyond the Sept. 30 end of the fiscal year and to fund the implementation of Obamacare could boost Democrats in the 2014 mid-term elections. The president would never agree to defunding his signature legislative achievement, Republicans argue, and voters would end up blaming the GOP for blocking access to popular government services.
Lee, who has been joined in his defunding effort by about a dozen Republicans in the House and Senate, was undaunted.
“I understand that there are some in the Washington establishment — some from both political parties —who aren’t happy with me over this. And, in this instance, I’m going to take that as a compliment, an indication that I’m doing something right,” Lee said on Fox News Sunday. “There are many of us who elected with this specific mandate in mind, that we have to stop this law.”
Lee added: “This is yet another instance of Washington versus everyone else and we’ve got to stop Washington from dividing the American people; we’ve got to stop Washington from hurting the American people. That’s what’s happening here.”
Meanwhile, Obama is threatening to veto any continuing resolution funding that doesn't undo automatic, across-the-board budget cuts set to kick in under the sequester in 2014.
“The president has made clear, he has told Congress, he will not sign a bill if it fixes defense at the expense of domestic spending,” Treasury Secretary Jack Lew told Fox News Sunday.