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Sen. Ted Cruz: Defund 'Obamacare' until economy improves

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Outspoken freshman Sen. Ted Cruz intends to offer an amendment to the stopgap spending plan under debate in Congress this week that would defund President Obama’s health care law until the nation’s economy grows at a rate in line with historical averages.

Mr. Cruz, Texas Republican, said that increasing economic growth should be every federal lawmaker’s top priority.

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“Obamacare does precisely the opposite,” Mr. Cruz, a tea-party favorite, said Wednesday in a statement. “It is already hurting small businesses, reducing the hours Americans are allowed to work, forcing employers to drop coverage, and leading to substantial increases in healthcare premiums — especially for young people.”

Within moments, Sen. Mike Lee, Utah Republican, said he would join Mr. Cruz in his mission.

“Although I would prefer a full repeal of Obamacare, we should at minimum delay its implementation until our country is experiencing real, sustained economic growth,” Mr. Lee said.

The proposal adds to the growing chorus of Republicans who say the Affordable Care Act — Mr. Obama’s signature domestic achievement — should be placed on the negotiating table as Washington hammers out its budget priorities.

So far, the health care reforms have been relatively well insulated from spending cuts, including the so-called sequester that went into effect last week.

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