Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said Thursday that the Senate will not repeal or defund Obamacare and that it’s just not sensible to think it will happen.
McCain’s comments were made on CNN’s “Political Lead” hours after House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said the lower chamber will vote on a continuing resolution on Friday to prevent a government shutdown but withhold appropriations to the new health care law.
Boehner’s decision to proceed with a stopgap measure with language to defund Obamacare came days after conservatives within his party refused to accept a defund bill as a rider to a main resolution.
“I think it’s pretty obvious [Boehner] has great difficulties within his own conference,” McCain said on the program. “I can’t second guess John Boehner. He’s a friend and, I think, a great leader. But I can tell you in the United States Senate we will not repeal or defund Obamacare. We will not. And to think we can is not rational.”
With words like these coming for the older lawmakers, there is sure to be some butting of the heads in the upper chamber, as young senators like Ted Cruz, R-Texas is promising to mount a filibuster.
“I will do everything necessary and anything possible to defund Obamacare,” Cruz said, adding a “yes” when asked if a filibuster is in mind.
“And anything else. Any procedural means necessary,” he added. “Listen, this is the most important fight in the country and it’s easy to focus on the political back and forth.”
Earlier in the day, Democrats have warned that attempts to defund Obamacare is a worthless move, as bills proposing to do just that are “dead on arrival.” President Barack Obama is also reportedly planning to veto.
But that doesn’t seem to be deterring the Cruz and his allies.
“I think Sen. Cruz is free to do what he wants to with the rules of the Senate,” McCain told CNN. “I will again state unequivocally that this is not something that we can succeed in, and that’s defunding Obamacare, because we don’t have 67 Republican votes in the Senate, which would be required to override a presidential veto.”
Without appropriations by Sept. 30, there will be a government shutdown. That is a path McCain is not willing to tread.
“All or most of the people who are doing this are new and do not have the experience that we had when the American people, who don’t like government but don’t want it to shut down, reacted in a very negative fashion towards Congress for doing so,” McCain said. “I am absolutely sure that there are ways that we can force votes on Obamacare from time to time. ... But to somehow think we’re going to defund it is simply not going to happen at this time and it will, in my opinion, as it did before, harm the American people’s view of the Republican Party.”