The White House on Friday highlighted the split in the Senate GOP caucus over defunding Obamacare after the House passed a continuing resolution which removes funding for the president's health care law.
The GOP-controlled House on Friday passed a bill to keep the government funded until Dec. 15 that also strips funds from Obamacare. The legislation is dead on arrival in the Senate, where Democrats have no desire to undo President Obama's signature legislative achievement.
Tea Party favorites, Sens. Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Ted Cruz, R-Texas, have threatened to shutdown the government to block the rollout of Obamacare. But other Republican senators fear a shutdown could cost the GOP at the ballot box and note that the party lacks the votes to block the health care reforms.
The White House trumpeted Republican senators who questioned the conservative House strategy.
“There is one glimmer of bipartisanship in all of this: I’m not the only person, this administration is not the only group that has concerns about shutting down the government in protest of Obamacare,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters.
“Sen. Bob Corker, a Republican from Tennessee, said it was 'silly to do so.' Sen. Richard Burr, Republican from North Carolina, called it the 'dumbest idea' he’d ever heard. Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte from New Hampshire described it as 'not productive' and even Senator Roy Blunt, whose state we’re about to visit, said that he 'didn’t support this idea,'" Earnest added.
Those Republicans oppose Obamacare but they view the push to defund the law as futile as long as Democrats control the upper chamber.
As lawmakers voted on the GOP plan Friday, Obama was aboard Air Force One en route to a Kansas City event to tout the recovery of the American auto industry. He will also use the event to hammer Republicans for their laser-focus on Obamacare.
Obama has vowed to veto any bill that cuts Obamacare funding even at the risk of a shutdown.