WASHINGTON (CBSMiami) – Senator Marco Rubio’s plan to shut down the government if Congress doesn’t defund the Affordable Care Act is going up in smoke in the nation’s capital.
Senator Rubio, along with Senators Mike Lee and Ted Cruz, signed on to a letter that said no government funding should be passed, including raising the debt limit, unless the ACA, also known as Obamacare, was defunded completely.
Rubio has written editorials for conservative media outlets touting his plan, but it appears a growing number of Senators are not ready to shut down the government. The plan has opened a schism between the more conservative tea party members and establishment Republicans.
“Oh, I think it’s a silly effort,” Republican Senator Bob Corker told MSNBC’s Chuck Todd. “What people are really saying who are behind that effort is we don’t have the courage to roll up our sleeves and deal with real deficit and spending decisions.”
Most establishment Republicans have taken the attitude of Senator Corker and dismissed the Rubio, Lee, Cruz plan as being bad for both the economy and the overall effort of Republican ideals in Washington.
Many of the more established members remember the last time the government shut down and the damage it caused to the Republican Party.
“As much as I want to replace Obamacare I’m not going to deny Social Security payments, funding of the military and the FBI at a time of great national security concerns. I think that’s a bridge too far,” said Republican South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, according to talkingpointsmemo.com.
Senator Cruz said that Republicans didn’t suffer public backlash after the government shut down in 1995 and said that the upcoming government funding bills are “possibly the last good opportunity we have to defund Obamacare,” according to Politico.com.
Still, the defunding of Obamacare was tried in 2011 when Republicans had much more leverage against President Obama and the White House refused any deal that would cut the administration’s signature legislation.
The Obamacare legislation is expected to drop insurance rates for individuals after additional subsidies from the government are added into the equation. This has been found to be the case in Oregon, California, New York, and other states.
According to the Associated Press, insurers in Florida including Florida Blue and Cigna will be among 11 health care plans that will be available in the individual market and five insurers will offer plans in the small group markets.
In addition, the Affordable Care Act has offered people with pre-existing conditions coverage and allowed young adults to stay on their parents’ coverage longer.
Still, Rubio, Cruz, and Lee have been joined by a concurring letter in the GOP-led House of Representatives that asked that Obamcare be completely defunded before any other government funding was allowed.
The House has voted 39 times to repeal Obamacare in purely symbolic votes and none will make it past the Senate or the White House. Ironically, the fiscally conservative House has wasted tens of millions of dollars to carry out the symbolic votes.
The government will have to be funded starting October 1 and with Congress about to go on an extended recess, there will be precious little time to pass any government funding bills.