Several prominent Republicans aren’t fans of the conservative push to shut down the federal government unless Obamacare is defunded. In fact, Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) thinks it’s “the dumbest idea” he’s ever heard.
Andrew Taylor, a reporter for the Associated Press, asked Burr if he was on board with Tea Party favorite Sen. Mike Lee’s (R-UT) effort to get Senate Republicans to vote against a continuing resolution funding the government if it also funds the implementation of Obamacare. Burr didn’t pull his punches, joining a growing group of Republicans who think the strategy is counterproductive and futile:
BURR: No, I think it’s the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard of… Listen, so long as Barack Obama’s president, the Affordable Care is gonna be law… I think some of these guys need to understand that, you shut down the government, you better have a specific reason to do it that’s achievable. Defunding the Affordable Care Act is not achievable by shutting down the federal government. At some point, you’re gonna open the federal government back up, and Barack Obama’s gonna be president, and he won’t have signed the dissolution of the Affordable Care Act.
Asked if that turn of events would amount to “walking into a baseball bat and hitting your face,” Burr replied, “If there’s something bigger than a baseball bat, then I think that’s about where they’re going.”
There are 12 Republican senators who have signed Lee’s pledge to shut down the government if they don’t get their way on Obamacare. The list includes conservatives and Tea Party darlings like Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Rand Paul (R-TX), as well as GOP presidential hopeful Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL). Rubio has made the same threat in the past.
Other congressional Republicans are skeptical of that strategy. On Wednesday, Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) condemned it as “the political equivalent of throwing a temper tantrum” and accused Senate Republicans of “blackmail.” Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) said that Obamacare repeal is “not going to happen” and that the American people would not stand for political “shenanigans” that tie a government shutdown or a hike in the debt ceiling to the health law in a radio interview last Friday.