Lee Speaks on CR, Debt Limit, ObamaCare Funding Vote

October 16, 2013

WASHINGTON—Today, Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) delivered remarks on the upcoming CR, debt limit, and ObamaCare funding vote. The full text is available below.

Mr. President,

Here we are again.  

Another unnecessary crisis. A proposal that maintains the status quo.  Very little time to read and evaluate the bill.  No time to explain it to our constituents.

This is Washington.  It is exactly the kind of thing the American people are fed up with and exactly why several of my colleagues and I began this effort to defund and delay Obamacare back in July.

It appears that this particular fight will end much the same way Obamacare began: in a last-minute deal, negotiated in back rooms, then forced on Congress and the American people.  

The Washington Establishment can’t bring itself to believe that this is why Congress has a poor approval rating – because Washington doesn’t listen to the American people.  It ignores them.  And when the American people can no longer be ignored, the administration shuts down national parks, blocks veterans from going to their own memorials, uses the IRS to target certain groups, and holds hostage critical funding for cancer research, low-income women and children, veterans’ health benefits, border security, and our National Guard.

It is shameful how Washington treats the American people and the people are right to be upset about it.

The media keeps asking, was it worth it?  My answer is that it is always worth it to do the right thing.  Fighting against an abusive government in defense of protecting our individual rights and freedoms is always the right thing.

Some say we shouldn’t have fought because we couldn’t win.  But this country wasn’t built by fighting only when victory was certain.  In fact, some of the most important victories in our history were the result of fighting battles against significant odds.

And even if victory seemed difficult or impossible, that wouldn’t excuse me or anyone else from doing the right thing.  Avoiding difficult battles is how we ended up in this mess – $17 trillion in debt, out-of-control spending, a broken entitlement system, a tax code no one understands – all because Washington is willing to act only when there is guaranteed political gain.  

When the avoidance of political risk becomes our dominant motivation, only the Washington establishment wins.  And the American people lose.

Furthermore, in Washington, victories are rarely immediate and very few are permanent.  Obamacare wasn’t enacted overnight and it won’t be repealed overnight.  We must remind the American people of the harmful effects of this law at every opportunity if we are ever going to see it repealed.

The best case against Obamacare is proving to be Obamacare itself.

We have repeatedly warned that the American people will be shocked when they realize the way the president has misled them about Obamacare.  

The embarrassing rollout of the exchanges doesn’t even scratch the surface. Every day brings a new story of a family whose deductible has doubled, or a married couple that can’t keep the plan they have, or a business that can no longer provide insurance, or workers who are seeing their hours cut or losing their jobs altogether.  

The realization that the administration has either been dishonest or incompetent – or both – is just starting to dawn on the American people.  Even the president’s friends in the media are watching this slow rolling train wreck and are demanding the president do something to stop it.  

The Chicago Tribune, the president’s hometown newspaper, puts it this way:

“Last spring, President Barack Obama said ‘there will still be, you know, glitches and bumps’ in the rollout of the new system. But what we're seeing now is no glitch or bump. There is a growing mountain of evidence that Obamacare has fundamental problems in design and implementation.”

The Tribune goes on to say: “We encouraged a one-year delay in the law. We recognize that's not going to happen. Obamacare is here. It's time, though, for the Obama administration to level with Americans about what's happening here. It's time to stop blaming Republicans and start talking about what needs to change.”

Incidentally, a delay in the law for the duration of the CR is exactly what we called for back in July. And now it appears that the president’s hometown newspaper agrees with us.

Almost everyone but the president seems to recognize that this law is going to be terrible for the American people.  It’s costing jobs. It’s hurting families. It’s making people’s health care situation worse and it won’t solve the problems in our broken health care system.

And let me be clear: There will be very real consequences for people in both parties as a result of the implementation of this law.

Today, Washington has the upper hand, but the American people will always have the last word.

This is not over.  We have an obligation to fight for the American people. And I do not intend to let the people down.