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Topic of the day: Sen. Lee's crusade against the Affordable Care Act

Published: Monday, Aug. 5 2013 2:28 p.m. MDT

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, center, and Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, walk to a closed-door meeting in the Old Senate Chamber for a showdown between Republican and Democratic leaders over presidential nominees that have been blocked by a GOP filibuster. The pair are part of an emerging coalition of GOP senators attempting to forestall the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

J. Scott Applewhite, ASSOCIATED PRESS

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Sen. Mike Lee’s crusade against the implementation of the Affordable Care Act has reached the editorial section of the USA Today, where Lee’s argument against the ACA faced off against the USA Today’s editorial board. Contrary to Lee's stance that the ACA should be defunded, USA Today argues that defunding the ACA would shut down the government come Oct. 1, and do more harm than good to the GOP.

“When the president unilaterally decided not to enforce ObamaCare's employer mandate, he was admitting that the law is not ready to implement,” Lee proclaims — referring to the president’s recent decision to put off implementing the employer mandate until 2015. “But instead of protecting all Americans from this train wreck, he chose to protect only big business, while unfairly forcing everyone else into ObamaCare's unstable and unsound system.”

Lee and 12 other GOP senators are calling for the House to amend the wording of the upcoming spending bill to omit any mention of Obamacare, denying the program funds. “If the president won't act to protect families and individuals, Congress should. It holds the power of the purse and can withhold funding to implement the law.” If the Democratic Party controlled Senate desires to implement the ACA, it would have to vote down the altered bill and be in the position of defunding the entire government.

“So far, the repeated attempts to overturn ObamaCare haven't done much real harm beyond wasting time,” claims the USA Today’s editorial board, in their opposing view against Lee, referring to the 40 votes of the House to repeal the ACA.

“But now, with the new health insurance exchanges about to open Oct. 1, ObamaCare's most diehard opponents are escalating their tactics in a dangerous way. These opponents say that unless the law is defunded, they will block a measure to keep the government operating after Sept. 30 — a threat as delusional as it is doomed to failure.”

The editorial board see’s more room for harm than good to the GOP should Lee and his fellow supporters achieve their goal, especially because “for all their demands for its repeal, congressional Republicans have never produced a credible and effective alternative that would insure anywhere close to the 25 million people expected to get coverage under ObamaCare by 2016.”

Lee’s crusade has garnered both ire and support from within his own party. Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., has called the plan “the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard,” and 2008 GOP presidential nominee John McCain, R-Ariz., has been quoted as saying, "Most Americans are really tired of those kinds of shenanigans." At the same time, 60 GOP representatives have been openly supportive of the 13 GOP senators' plans, and 59 percent of self-identified Republicans want the ACA repealed.

Freeman Stevenson is a Snow College grad and is the DeseretNews.com opinion intern. Reach me at fstevenson@deseretdigital or @freemandesnews

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