As much as House Majority Leader Eric Cantor would like to get rid of Obamacare, the Virginia Republican said Friday he doesn’t believe Senate conservatives’ plan to tie funding of the healthcare law to legislation allowing the government to continue functioning is a feasible strategy.
Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) are seeking to omit Obamacare from the list of approved expenditures in an upcoming continuing resolution to fund the federal government.
Republicans like Lee and Cruz are threatening to let the government shut down until their colleagues vote to defund the unpopular healthcare reform law. Lee has said the vote on the continuing resolution is the last chance for Republicans to cripple Obamacare, making it crucial that House leadership join onto his boycott.
In an interview with National Review Online, Cantor said he lacks confidence in the Senate’s ability to obtain the votes needed to pass a CR that calls for defunding of the President’s signature piece of legislation.
“In order to avoid a government shutdown, we need 60 votes in the Senate and 218 votes in the House to pass a continuing resolution,” Cantor said. “To get 60 votes in the Senate, you need at least 14 Democrats to join Republicans and pass a CR that defunds Obamacare. Right now, I am not aware of a single Democrat in the Senate who would join us.”
A few Senate Democrats such as Montana Sen. Max Baucus may be willing to stay Obamacare’s implementation, but the number of Democrats willing to reverse their vote on Obamacare isn’t likely to significantly change before Congress returns from recess next month.
Though Cantor threw cold water on the idea of government shutdown, he said remains committed to repealing the damaging legislation.
“Repealing Obamacare remains the goal as is doing everything we can to protect people from its harmful effects here and now, like delaying the mandate for the people not just big business,” he said.