U.S. Sen. Mike Lee told a national TV audience Sunday he believes he has the votes in the Senate to defund Obamacare.
“Is the government going to shut down?” NBC’s “Meet the Press” host David Gregory asked a panel of stakeholders.
“No,” Lee said. “We all know that the government’s going to be funded. The question is whether it will be funded with Obamacare or without.”
Calling Lee “one of the firebrands in the Senate,” Gregory said Republicans are arguing over whether the fight over Obamacare is the right thing to do
“You wanted to have this fight,” Gregory said. “The defunding strategy …is an ill-conceived tactic and Republicans should reject it. What do you say to that, Sen. Lee?”
“Well, ever since we started talking about the defund Obamacare effort back in July, people within the Washington establishment, in both political parties, have been attacking it,” Lee said. “Right off the top, they said it can’t be done. Some of them even said legally. It is not physically or legally possible to pass a bill that funds government but defunds Obamacare.”
Lee said that the American people are rallying around the idea, citing a list of reasons.
“We have to ask the question, how many more people will have other lose their jobs or have their wages cut or lose their health care benefits before Congress acts, before Congress does something to protect the American people?” Lee said. “How many states will have to announce that premiums are going up? You know, this week, we saw Home Depot announcing that 20,000 employees will lose their health care benefits. The House boldly acted this week, and I commend [House] Speaker [John] Boehner for his leadership on this.”
Gregory pressed for an answer.
“But I asked a direct question,” Gregory said. “Do you have support in the Senate to defund Obamacare or don’t you?”
Lee said he is confident he has the support.
“All 45 Republicans in the Senate, in March, voted to defund Obamacare,” Lee said. “We will keep those and add a 46th, Jeff Chiesa from New Jersey. I know that a few Senate Democrats, particularly those from red states who are up for re-election this year, will consider joining us because this is what the American people ask us to do, and need us to do.”
Watch the segment here via NBC News.