Cruz: Arguments That Obamacare Can’t Be Defunded a ‘Red Herring’

Senator Ted Cruz yesterday labeled his colleagues’ arguments that Obamacare can’t be defunded a “red herring,” and again called for congress to pass a continuing resolution that prohibits funding for President Obama’s signature piece of legislation.

Critics charge that Cruz’s favored strategy will involve threatening to shut down the federal government but will fail to defund Obamacare. They cite a Congressional Research Service report to that effect. But Cruz says that’s a strawman.

“Nobody has argued that a shutdown would defund Obamacare,” Cruz told a room full of fellow Republican legislators at a bicameral discussion hosted by the Republican Study Committee and led by Tea Party Patriots national coordinator Jenny Beth Martin.

Even if President Obama “forces a partial temporary shutdown,” Cruz said, ”Obamacare won’t be defunded. All that’s saying is that we will not have accomplished our goal, before we accomplish our goal.”

“The way you defund Obamacare is you pass a continuing resolution into law with an explicit prohibition on discretionary and mandatory spending [for the law],” Cruz said, calling the option, supported by him, Senator Mike Lee, and Senator Marco Rubio, “the only prayer we have” to stop the health-care legislation.

He said that other attempts to thwart the law, such as stripping the Internal Revenue Service of its enforcement role and delaying the individual mandate, would be “nice symbolic statements,” but that they had no chance of becoming law. Even if such measures passed the House, Senate majority leader Harry Reid “won’t take up a single one of them,” he said.

The administration is planning to get the American people “hooked” on the program’s subsidies, which start January 1, 2014, Cruz said. “In modern times there has never been any major entitlement that has gone into effect and has been unwound,” he explained.

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