Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, says his effort to block funding resolutions that include money for implementing the Affordable Care Act, colloquially known as Obamacare, is gaining support among Republican colleagues in the upper chamber.
Lee said Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., became the 14th senator to sign on to his letter to defund President Obama’s signature healthcare reform law, The Hill reported last week.
During a town hall meeting in Spanish Fork, Utah, Lee criticized the “blatant” and “unfair” characterization of his proposal as a shutdown threat.
Many Republican lawmakers in both chambers are advocating a move to block any funding measure that includes ACA funding. But some Republican lawmakers and strategists have expressed concern such a stance could lead to a government shutdown — and voters will hold the GOP responsible when they go to the polls.
Most House and Senate Republican leaders have declined to sign on to the defunding strategy.
Heritage Foundation President James DeMint, a former U.S. senator from South Carolina, has urged voters to replace any GOP congressional member unwilling to vote to defund the healthcare law during September’s budget showdown.
DeMint dismissed fears Republicans would catch voter ire for a shutdown.
Two other senators said they won’t support measures to fund government if it includes funding for Obamacare — Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Marco Rubio of Florida, both considered potential GOP presidential candidates in 2016, CNN said.
Cruz, speaking at the news conference last week, said Republicans have the most leverage now as they try to get rid of the healthcare law.
The continuing resolution that keeps the government running expires Sept. 30, also the end of the fiscal year.