Rand Paul Admits What Ted Cruz Won’t: The “Defund Obamacare” Plan Won’t Succeed

Rand Paul, Ted Cruz

Rand Paul is playing politics of the “Defund Obamacare” movement far differently than his fellow Senator Ted Cruz:

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, a libertarian leader and potential presidential contender, said Saturday Republicans likely have lost the battle on repealing Obamacare and should focus on improving the president’s signature health care law.

Paul struck a tone of realism Saturday — a day after the U.S. House voted for the 42nd time to derail the Affordable Care Act. The latest effort was a condition of funding federal operations past Sept. 30 or risking a government shutdown.

“I’m acknowledging that we probably can’t defeat or get rid of Obamacare but by starting with our position of not funding it maybe we get to a position where we make it less bad,” Paul, R-Ky., told reporters at the Mackinac Republican Leadership Conference.

(…)

As for Obamacare, Paul says the GOP are united about defunding it because their constituents are universally urging them to. But there needs to be agreement on strategy.

“Because Democrats perceive disunity, our leverage doesn’t really work,” Paul said. “Leverage doesn’t work unless people believe you’ll actually do something. The fact that Democrats don’t believe we’ll do anything, in the end they’ll get what they want and a bill will be cobbled together.”

The Democratic-led Senate will take up the defunding legislation next week. President Obama has threatened to veto the plan and the Senate is expected to strip out offending Obamacare provisions and send a clean version back the the U.S. House.

Had the U.S. House leadership pushed the strategy three months ago, perhaps the different House and Senate versions could be hashed out in a conference committee and result in compromise on improving Obamacare, Paul said. But with a week left before the government runs out of money, Paul says lawmakers shouldn’t shut down the government over this issue.

Ironically, one of the people blocking efforts to set up a House-Senate Conference Committee to iron out the differences between the Budgets the two chambers had passed was a Senator from Texas named Ted Cruz.

As for Paul, it’s clear that he agrees with the general Republican idea that the PPACA is flawed and should be repealed. Indeed, I doubt you’ll find a single member of the Senate GOP caucus who feels otherwise. Many of those Senators clearly don’t agree with Cruz’s tactics, though, and Paul is at least willing to admit that the entire scheme isn’t going to work.

FILED UNDER: Congress, Deficit and Debt, Health Care, Quick Takes, US Politics, ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed for too young in July 2021.

Comments

  1. al-Ameda says:

    Wow, did anyone else read this:

    “Because Democrats perceive disunity, our leverage doesn’t really work,” Paul said. “Leverage doesn’t work unless people believe you’ll actually do something. The fact that Democrats don’t believe we’ll do anything, in the end they’ll get what they want and a bill will be cobbled together.”

    Rand Paul is dissembling there. What Democrats don’t believe that they (Republicans) will do anything? I think Democrats correctly believe that Republicans are attempting to leverage all of this into further weakening or taking down ACA, and deep cuts to programs they label as “entitlements” e.g. Social Security and Medicare. That is hardly representative of Republicans doing nothing.

  2. JKB says:

    If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, again.

    I doubt you’ll find a single member of the Senate GOP caucus who feels otherwise. Many of those Senators clearly don’t agree with Cruz’s tactics,

    Yes, but those other GOP senators’ tactic is “Don’t”, “Stop”, “Please”….”Please don’t stop”. So they got that going for them.

  3. Tony W says:

    The fact that Democrats don’t believe we’ll do anything, in the end they’ll get what they want and a bill will be cobbled together.”

    Precisely the problem. Compromising on critical legislation is portrayed as giving the Democrats what they want.

    “Pepperidge Farm” and I can remember a time when D’s and R’s compromised and told rookie members they had to cast the sacrificial votes to get unpopular legislation like debt ceiling increases through. Without a loyal opposition, we will fall….divided.

  4. mantis says:

    Ironically, one of the people blocking efforts to set up a House-Senate Conference Committee to iron out the differences between the Budgets the two chambers had passed was a Senator from Texas named Ted Cruz.

    That’s not irony. It has never been Cruz’s intention to “improve Obamacare” or achieve a compromise budget solution. His goal is to improve his own status with the base and raise campaign cash, pure and simple.

    This is, unsurprisingly, what you get when you champion a political ideology based on the idea that government is evil. Its heroes have no interest in governance.

  5. al-Ameda says:

    This is, unsurprisingly, what you get when you champion a political ideology based on the idea that government is evil. Its heroes have no interest in governance.

    Exactly, Ted Cruz is not a reformer he is a revolutionary – he wants blood on the floor.

  6. Hal 10000 says:

    Wow. Rand Paul is the voice of sanity.

  7. Dodd says: