With Mike Lee making the news, I had a chance on Monday to talk with him about his efforts to defund Obamacare. And yes I do occasionally scoop Limbaugh. Rather than offer you an op-ed extract, I thought I would let the Senator speak for himself. Below is part one of that interview.
BROWN: What happens when John Boehner won’t come down one way or the other on defunding Obamacare in the CR.? To those of us outside of the Beltway, this seems like a slam dunk and you have to wonder why the continued votes to repeal Obamacare but never the vote to actually defund it.
LEE: The interesting phenomenon that you see here is that this is a controversial move only within the Beltway. You get outside the Beltway, this law is not controversial, the effort is not controversial because this law is absolutely despised. Individuals don’t like it, doctors hate it, employers are saying it’s going to cause them all kinds of problems and will result in more layoffs. Even unions are saying that this is going to be terrible for workers. And last but not least, the author of this law, Senator Max Baucus from Montana has described this thing as a train wreck. So it’s clear that those things in addition to the fact that the President has said that the law is not ready to implement as its written make clear that we have an obligation to delay this law by defunding it.
BROWN: There is a headline today that raised my eyebrows; the IRS is largely going be responsible for enforcing this law, correct?
BROWN: Then why is it that the National Treasury Employees Union which represents IRS employees is telling its members to oppose the law that would get them off of the healthcare plans they have now and on to Obamacare? The people enforcing this program would not even be on this program.
LEE: Yeah, they don’t want to be on the exchanges. They know that it’s gonna be bad and yet they are going to be the ones enforcing the law’s most important operative provisions. That ought to tell us something. Even a public sector union is now weighing in saying that there are aspects of this law that are just horrible.
BROWN: They have the Healthcare Navigators now, there is no oversight as to who they are, or what they are going to do and they have access pretty much to your entire life.
LEE: If you don’t like the idea of NSA listening to phone calls from all over the world and possibly a few calls involving American citizens along the way, and keeping track of all of your phone calls. In terms of who you call, when you call them, and when someone else calls you, you want to be even more concerned about people who are going to be surveiling you here; keeping track of much more personal details even than NSA. Keeping track of your medical history, whether or not you’re registered to vote. I mean, these are very serious issues from a privacy standpoint and we ought not stand for this. Once something gets into a government database eventually other entities within government are going to have access to it and before long somebody’s accessing those things that has no business accessing them. There is a reason why the genre of books like “Brave New World” and “1984” are making a comeback. People are really afraid of Big Government and Big Government with its spies on them has the ability to target them, and single them out.
BROWN: With someone like Harry Reid squatting in the leadership seat with the ability to fill the amendment tree, there isn’t much chance of making any headway in this at all.
LEE: Look, what we know is that if we don’t try there is no chance. I for one was elected with a mandate to everything that I can to stop Obamacare. And I’m gonna try. The fact that this is difficult doesn’t mean it doesn’t need to be done- quite to the contrary. This is urgent, and there are people who for whatever reason are standing up for a law that is not ready to implemented, a law that is very, very controversial even within the Beltway and despised outside the Beltway, that’s what is making it difficult. But again the reasons why this is difficult are the same reason why we should be pushing as hard as it can to make it happen.
BROWN: What about the Administration exempting certain businesses but not individuals?
LEE: People who are already being told that your healthcare premiums are going to skyrocket, they’re going to get way, way more expensive. Those same people who already understood that this law’s gonna make healthcare unaffordable, now understand that it is going to be fundamentally unfair; because they have to meet their obligations under Obamacare, according to this president and his administration. But Big Business doesn’t! Big Business was granted this big, special dispensation. That is horrible! That is a betrayal of the principles underlying our system of laws- the Rule of Law the principle of equal protection, the fact that we’re supposed to be treated equally under a just system of laws. This is not equal. This is fundamentally unfair and we’ve gotta resist it.
BROWN: It seems like a big piece of papier-mâché’ to me. If it is popular only within certain precincts of the Beltway and is unpopular in the rest of the nation, why is it that some of our leaders have their fingers in their ears, ignoring the cries of the people, and continuing to let this role? Even some of your colleagues on Capitol Hill have looked at this and realized that at some point they will have to jump into the Obamacare exchange pool and want to delay that as long as possible.
LEE: Some of this can be explained by Potomac Fever. You hang around this town long enough you get confused by the echo chamber. But once people go back and start talking to their constituents, they are going to realize that again, this law is not merely controversial in America, it is wildly despised. So that is why I am optimistic-guardedly optimistic, because this is a tough place in which to resist the establishment. But still, the American people are in control. The American people speak their minds on this issue and as they do that I’m confident that more and more of my colleagues and more and more of my counterparts in the House are going to join this effort to fund government, keep government funded, but don’t fund Obamacare.