WASHINGTON — Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and other conservative lawmakers sent a clear message to their fellow Republicans on Thursday: get on board with their strategy for defunding Obamacare or lose your conservative credibility.
“I don’t think you can say you are against Obamacare if you vote for a budget that funds it,” Rubio said in an afternoon press conference outside the Capitol. “And I think it’s outrageous that the president and his allies are threatening to shutdown the American government if it doesn’t fund the Obamacare law.”
Rubio made the comments alongside other senators — including Ted Cruz of Texas and Mike Lee of Utah — who have pledged not to support any resolution that continues funding the federal government if President Obama’s health-care law remains funded.
Under current law, the government is funded until Sept. 30, meaning a continuing resolution needs to be passed to keep the government from shutting down.
“So those of us who say we are against Obamacare, September will give us the last best chance to actually do something about it,” Rubio said. “The fact of the matter is if this thing goes into effect beginning Oct. 1, with the exchanges and all the mandates that start kicking in, it will be do irreparable damage to our economy and to our country.”
Other Republicans in the Senate have come out against the strategy, saying it gives false hope to conservatives because it simply won’t work. Without having control of the Senate or the presidency, such legislation would be impossible to pass.
“The worst thing is being dishonest with your base about what you can accomplish, ginning everybody up and then creating disappointment,” Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn said last week. “It’s a terribly dangerous and not successful strategy.”
But lawmakers like Cruz dispute that it’s a futile effort.
“This is a fight we can win,” Cruz arguing this plan is different that others that have come before it.
“We’ve heard lots of speeches about Obamacare, we’ve had lots of votes about Obamacare, not of which had any chance of passing,” he said.
Cruz laid out the plan, saying the House of Representatives should pass a continuing resolution that funds the government except for the programs in President Obama’s health-care law.