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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Rubio's line in sand over Obamacare making some Republicans uneasy



Sens. Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and Mike Lee went on the Senate floor this afternoon to continue their campaign to defund Obamacare – a stance that has opened divisions among the GOP.

"This bill is going to make it harder on the middle class," Rubio said, noting that some employers are holding back on hiring or moving full-time employees to part-time. Rubio and Cruz both cited this Palm Beach Post report that insurance rates would rise 30 percent to 40 percent for individual buyers.

"This is our last, our last best chance to do something about this," Rubio said. "If we are not willing to the limit on this issue, then what issue is there?"

But the trio has also drawn a hard line, saying they will oppose funding the government past Sept. 30 unless they get what they want. That's triggered a growing backlash from other Republicans.

“I think it’s a silly effort,” Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee said on MSNBC this morning.

"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,” Corker said. “We want to take ourselves out of the debate and act like we're being principled to the America people by saying, 'If there's one dime of funding for Obamacare we're not going to vote for the CR.' I don't look at that as very courageous.”

Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma told the Washington Examiner that the effort is futile. “I’d love to defund it,” Coburn said. “I’d be leading the charge if I thought this would work. But it will not work. It’s a denial of reality mixed with a whole bunch of hype to promote groups and individuals who are saying, ‘I’m going to give you hope’ for something that we can’t do.”

Sen. Ted Cruz told reporters this afternoon that other Republicans were “afraid” to take a principled stand because they think the GOP would get blamed for a government shutdown.

Sen. John McCain, who was standing about 20 feet away, was told of the statement. He feigned being afraid and pulled out a white handkerchief and waved it in the air.

Rubio has talked almost exclusively about Obamacare since the Senate immigration bill was passed on June 27, highlighting what he sees as its crushing effect on the economy in a series of floor speeches, travels to Florida and conservative media appearances.

“I didn’t come to Washington to shut down the federal government; I came to help bring it back to its proper role,” he insisted Monday in a column for RedState.

But Rubio too called for Republicans to unite.

“Our health system should be the envy of the world,” Rubio wrote. “Our economy should be a powerhouse that provides our people with opportunities to get ahead, achieve greater stability and provide for their families. ObamaCare threatens all this and will lead to America’s decline, because it emulates what other nations have tried. In essence, it seeks to remake America in others’ images when it is America that has always been the example for other nations.

“Defunding ObamaCare is a critical first step to preventing all this, and this September, we need the American people to stand with us in demanding that not another cent be spent on implementing ObamaCare. At that point, the President will have a decision to make: sign it and keep the government open, or veto it and shut down the government.”

[Last modified: Tuesday, July 30, 2013 5:50pm]


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