Sen. Mike Lee: ‘The House Must Refuse to Fund Obamacare’

By Terence P. Jeffrey | July 11, 2013 | 5:30pm EDT

Sen. Mike Lee (R.-Utah) (AP Photo)

( - Sen. Mike Lee (R.-Utah) is calling for the House Republican leadership to force a showdown with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and President Barack Obama when this fiscal year ends on Sept. 30 by refusing to permit funding for the implementation of Obamacare in whatever legislation—likely a continuing resolution—authorizes funding of the government after that date.

In an interview with about his new e-book (Why John Roberts Was Wrong About Healthcare), Lee said Obama was violating his constitutional obligation to faithfully execute the law by suspending the statutory Dec. 31, 2013 deadline for the Obamacare mandate that requires large employers to provide health insurance for their workers. Lee noted that Obama is not similarly suspending the same Dec. 31 deadline that requires individuals to buy health insurance.

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“The remedy is for Congress to refuse to fund the implementation of the program that the president insists is not ready to be implemented,” said Lee. “Look, the American people are being told: You’ve got to comply even though the big corporations don’t have to. You’ve got to do this or you’ll be punished. But if [the big corporations] don’t do what they are supposed to do under the law, nothing will happen to them.”

“So, Congress has not only the authority but a solemn obligation in this circumstance to say if the law’s not ready to be implemented and enforced, as it was written, the American people shouldn’t be paying to have it implemented and enforced--not at all,” said Lee.

“It would be irresponsible at this point for Congress to pass any appropriations measure and any continuing resolution that would contain funding for the ongoing, further enforcement and implementation of Obamacare as long as these conditions remain in place,” he said.

Lee said that House Speaker John Boehner and other House Republican leaders should join with Republicans in the Senate in blocking any funding after Sept. 30 for implementation of Obamacare.

“I’m drafting an amendment for the Senate to attach to any continuing resolution here,” said Lee. “Republicans in the Senate and Republicans in the House need to stand on this issue, need to refuse to budge, because we will be complicit in Obamacare, we will be responsible for what happens to the country with Obamacare as the government selectively enforces this law, as the administration has now re-written it, if we provide funding for the administration to do that.”

Article 1, Section 9, Clause 7 of the Constitution says: “No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law.” A law cannot be enacted unless it is approved by the House. The current law authorizing the administration to spend money expires on Sept. 30.

If the Republican-majority House were to approve a continuing resolution to fund the government after Sept. 30 that prohibited the administration from spending any money to implement Obamacare, the Democratic-majority Senate, led by Sen. Harry Reid (D.-Nev.), would have a choice: approve a similar bill and keep the government funded (with the exception of Obamacare), or refuse to approve a similar bill and shutdown the government in attempt to compel the House to reverse course and provide funding for Obamacare.

President Obama would face a similar choice if the Senate joined the House in approving a CR that prohibited spending money on implementation of Obamacare. He would need to decide if he wanted to shut down the government in an attempt to compel Congress to give him the money to implement Obamacare.

Eventually, one side would have to give: Either the Republican-majority House led by John Boehner would need to surrender to Harry Reid’s or Barack Obama’s demand that it fund Obamacare, or Reid and Obama would need to surrender to the Republican-majority House's decision to deny funding for Obamacare implementation.

Lee said he did not want a government shut down, and that there did not need to be one. But in his view, if the House approved a bill to fund the government and the Senate or the president blocked that bill because it did not fund implementation of Obamacare, it would be the Senate or the president who was shutting down the government, not the Republican House.

“I want to make very clear: There’s no need to shut down the government here,” said Lee. “I don’t want a government shutdown, and I don’t think we have to have one.”

“It would be most unfortunate if they refused to keep the rest of the government functioning, just because they are so insistent on the Obama administration having all the funds it wants to be able to selectively enforce this provision,” he said.

“No American who is concerned about individual liberty, no American who is concerned about all the horrible things that Obamacare is going to do to our economy would ever want that taint [of having funded Obamacare even after the administration announced it was not going to enforce its health-insurance mandate equally on individuals and businesses],” said Lee. “No one would want to be complicit in that, and that is exactly why the House must refuse to fund ObamaCare.”

“This is the moment,” Lee said. “This is the moment when Americans stand together and say: We don’t want this.”

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