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.”
But Lee is bluffing. There's nothing he can do and he knows it. He's already given up the game.
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.
Lee's talking about at most shutting down the government over the individual mandate, a fight the GOP has already lost in the legislative, executive, and judicial branches. He's bluffing. The wingers know it too, and they're pissed:
Congress should completely defund Obamacare by October, when the government next runs out of money. To paraphrase Ecclesiastes, there are times for half-measures, and there are times to get the job done. If Republican leaders intend to vote only on an individual mandate delay, then this half-measure will serve only to keep Obamacare limping along now to wreak its havoc and ruin on the economy later.
Republican leaders are understandably wary of being blamed for a government shutdown at the next showdown about running out of money (yet again).
But Congress must not do anything to prop up this faltering law. For the moment the Obama administration declared the employer mandate would be delayed until after a tough election, this debate transcended a fight over health care and became a fight about transforming our constitutional system of separate but equal branches of government.
This is now about ceding power to a runaway executive branch that the Constitution simply does not allow.
Except of course the Supreme Court indeed ruled that the Constitution does allow it. Any wonder then that the GOP plan over the month-long recess is to snow job voters at home during town hall meetings?
While Republicans have a familiar rhetoric, leadership does suggest that members seek out diverse groups during the break with “Meetups” — forums to “ensure the Member is engaging with all demographics.”
“Potential groups to organize Meetups around include women, Asian-Americans, Hispanic-Americans and millennials,” the kit explains.
As always, don’t forget to assign a staffer to live-tweet the event with photos, Vines and a consistent hashtag. The memo loves the budding Vine app, which has traditionally been used as a means for frat brothers to share their drunken misadventures in six-second bursts, not as a means for House Republicans to spread their limited-government message.
To get the conversation rolling in the right direction, the playbook suggests planting questions: “Prepare a few questions in advance in case the conversation slowly starts.”
“Invite at least 3-4 people with whom the member already has an established relationship,” the memo instructs. “This will strengthen the conversation and take it in a direction that is most beneficial to the member’s goal.”
Make sure you throw in a few minorities to look good. Use social media. Plant a few questions. Forget it, Republicans. You lost on this, there's nothing you can do other than drag your feet kicking and screaming, and the voters will cure you of that pretty quickly. But if you're willing to shut down the government over this, go ahead. I'm sure the Democrats would be thrilled to actually pick up seats in the sixth year of a Democratic president's time in office.