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GOP Governors Criticize Obamacare-Defunding Strategy


While Republican governors have done much to oppose Obamacare, a number of them, including a potential 2016 candidate, have warned their congressional counterparts against threatening a shutdown of the federal government in order to defund the law. A handful of GOP senators, such as Ted Cruz and Mike Lee, have suggested the party should only vote for a continuing resolution, necessary to continue funding the government this fall, if it explicitly prohibits funding the president’s health-care legislation.

At this past weekend’s National Governors Association meeting, top GOP governors said they would like to see other anti-Obamacare strategies pursued. The New York Times seems to have gone out of its way to ask the executives about it, but newly named NGA chairman Mary Fallin of Oklahoma brought it up on her own in a formal address, saying she’d like to see federal lawmakers “buckle down, work hard, find consensus on things and certainly find ways of reducing our deficit” that don’t involve a shutdown.

Wisconsin’s Scott Walker, considered a possible contender for the 2016 presidential nomination, also spoke out against the idea. “I have made the case that Obamacare is not good for the economy, but I have some real concerns about potentially doing something that would have a negative impact on the economy just for the short term — I think there are other ways to pursue this,” he said.

“The worst part is the uncertainty,” Walker explained. “My great fear would be anything that provides great uncertainty for the employers of our country.”

The governors were not only worried about the shutdown’s economic impact, but political repercussions as well. “It just causes too much disruption, and people don’t understand,” said Iowa’s Terry Brandstad in an interview with the Times, adding that it would end up being blamed on congressional Republicans rather than the White House. Jack Dalrymple of North Dakota explained that he “never felt that shutting down government function is a wise thing to do politically.”

Phil Bryant, who refused the Medicaid expansion for his state of Mississippi, plainly asked, “How much blood are we going to leave on the floor over this?”

Currently, 13 GOP senators have signed on to Lee’s and Cruz’s letter, and bill, to defund Obamacare through the CR, while some of their colleagues have actively criticized the effort.


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