The GOP 'nuclear option' on Obamacare
Will Republicans shut down the government if Obama and the Democrats insist on funding Obamacare?
The fiscal fight coming this fall over the budget might be Obamacare's Waterloo. GOP leaders are talking about refusing to pass a budget that contains one dime of funding for Obamacare. It's their very own "nuclear option" and it has both sides already establishing their positions.
ObamaCare is at the center of a rapidly escalating fight that threatens to shut the government down this fall. [WATCH VIDEO]
Senate Republicans, including two members of the leadership, are coalescing around a proposal to block any government funding resolution that includes money for the implementation of the 2010 Affordable Care Act.
But such a move is a nonstarter for President Obama and congressional Democrats. Republicans have tried this maneuver in Obama's first term, only to back off later to the chagrin of Tea Party leaders.
This time, GOP lawmakers are emboldened by problems plaguing the administration's ObamaCare implementation. But that zeal could put Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) in a tough spot. Both leaders have downplayed previous talk of shuttering the government.
In the House, 64 Republicans have signed onto a letter pressing Boehner not to bring any legislation funding ObamaCare to the floor.
Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), the leader of the Senate effort, predicts the vast majority of the Senate Republican Conference will back his plan, giving him enough votes to sustain a filibuster of a stopgap spending measure.
"This is the last stop before ObamaCare fully kicks in on Jan. 1 of next year for us to refuse to fund it," Lee said Monday on "Fox and Friends."
"If Republicans in both houses simply refuse to vote for any continuing resolution that contains further funding for further enforcement of ObamaCare, we can stop it. We can stop the individual mandate from going into effect," he said.
"We have 64 of my colleagues on this letter and we're asking the leadership not to bring anything to the floor that has funding for ObamaCare in it," said Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), who is spearheading the House effort.
If it were solely up to McConnell and Boehner, no shutdown would be likely. But both leaders face a revolt of their members if they don't pull the trigger. I think it more than likely that there will be a government shutdown over Obamacare and that it is likely to be a long one.
The GOP can win this one if they get busy making their case now. They have statistics to back up their rhetoric about Obamacare ruining the economy, costing full time jobs, raising insurance rates, and turning America into a part-time employee nation. They can also point to the massive incompetence of the Obama administration in rolling out Obamacare and the state insurance exchanges.
The public would be receptive to a fairness argument over delaying the employer mandate but leaving the individual mandate alone. All in all, Republicans have plenty of ammunition to fight Obamacare implementation - if only they stand up for what they believe come what may.
That remains to be seen.