Sen Tom Coburn on the ACA Defunding Effort

by Reihan Salam

Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn continues to distinguish himself. In an interview with Byron York of the Washington Examiner, Coburn explains why he opposes the new effort to defund the Affordable Care Act:

Even though Republicans don’t have the votes to defund Obamacare, they do have the power, if they choose, to bring the government to a halt. Coburn sees that as a disastrous possible result of the plan. “You’re not going to stop the funding, but what you will do is shut down the government,” he said. “Among that group of senators that has been considering this, I was the only one who was here for that,” a reference to the government shutdowns of 1995 and 1996, when Coburn was a member of the House. “The president is never going to sign a bill defunding Obamacare. Do you think he’s going to cave?”

“The strategy that has been laid out is a good way for Republicans to lose the House.”

I’m an admirer of Utah Sen. Mike Lee, who is spearheading the effort to defund the ACA. But in this case I think Coburn is right and Lee is wrong.