During an interview with conservative talker Laura Ingraham on Tuesday, Sen. Mike Lee defended the much-criticized “defund Obamacare” strategy that he and Sen. Ted Cruz are spearheading.
“My job, Laura, is to do everything I can to protect the people from bad law and bad policy, which we have in Obamacare,” Lee said. “I can’t look at this and say because this law is unpopular, because this law is going to be rejected ultimately by the American people as unworkable, and because that could inure to the benefit of the Republican Party, that justifies me in staying my hand and just being alone and letting it hit. When you’re about to see a train wreck happen and you know there’s something that still could be done, even if it’s a long shot to prevent it — if you know that there’s something that could be done to stop it, you’ve got to try and that’s my job.”
Lee also responded to accusations that that he and Cruz had “rolled over” after the House passed a budget-funding bill that would defund Obamacare.
“That is just not an accurate characterization,” he said. “What we’re saying is that there are a couple of appropriate ways for the Senate to handle the House-passed bill, which we whole-heartedly support and I praise the House leadership for passing. One way would be for us to take it up and to vote on it, up or down, as it was passed by the House of Representatives. Another approach would be for us to say, ‘No, we want to subject it to an amendment process. Let’s allow Democrats and Republicans both to propose amendments. Let’s debate those amendments. Let’s vote on those amendments.”
“Either one of those would be fine with me,” he continued. “What’s not fine is for Harry Reid to use a procedural device in the Senate to bring that up and to try to have his cake and eat it too — to say, ‘Yeah, we’re going to subject it to an amendment process, but only one amendment — an amendment to gut the House bill, an amendment to take out the defunding mechanism and do nothing else to allow it to be considered in connection with an amendment process.’ That’s not OK. And if he tries to do that, I’m going to use every procedural option at my disposal to try to stop him from doing that.”
Lee went on to add these options are a part of the minority party’s rights in the Senate, even if they do not have the support of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell or Cruz’s Texas colleague, Republican Sen. John Cornyn.