Senator Mike Lee (R-UT)

One of the political issues to emerge on Capitol Hill is a threat by a handful of Senate Republicans to shutdown federal government unless President Obama agrees to defund Obamacare. From the Huffington Post:

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.

[...]

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.

The strategy is so absurd it is almost impossible to imagine a scenario where it could actually work. A President, who is never again facing re-election, is not going to defund his signature law to stop a government shutdown that is likely to be blamed on Republicans.

Unless I’m greatly mistaken I don’t think this strategy is even meant to actually work. The important point to keep in mind is that Senator Lee and many of his 13-14 Senate Republicans were probably never planning to vote for any continuing resolution anyway. They are in the minority. Their votes are not needed nor would they be expected.

If you are planning to vote no anyway you might as well created a good excuse for voting no. Turn it into a principled stance against a law that is very unpopular with the base. Get your supporters/donors really excited about a vote you were always  going to be against. No point in wasting a routine no vote when you can turn it into a big show.

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