The Washington Times - July 24, 2013, 03:01PM

Sen. Marco Rubio said Wednesday that Republican opposition President Obama’s health care law is so integral to the party’s principles that his colleagues should be ready to reject any spending bills that fund the reforms.

“The argument I’ve made to my colleagues is that there are some issues that are so fundamental that we have to be willing to go all the way on them,” the Florida Republican and rising GOP star said. “I think Obamacare is one of them.”

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He noted that discord over the health care law gave rise to the tea party wave in 2010, amid fears the law would harm to the country’s economy.

Sen. Mike Lee, Utah Republican, said Wednesday he has gotten about a dozen of his GOP colleagues to sign a letter to Senate Majority Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, that calls on the body to spurn any appropriations bills or short-term spending plans that contain money to implement the law.

But the party is not unified: Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican, said he and some of his colleagues do not want to tie Obamacare repeal efforts to the budget process.

“How do you fund the military?” he said in a brief interview.

Mr. Rubio acknowledged the pushback within his own party, but argued that principle mattered more.

“I’m not trying to put anybody on the spot, but here’s the bottom line — you can’t say you’re against Obamacare if you’re voting to fund it,” Mr. Rubio said.

He also said Republicans shouldn’t take the heat if the dispute brings Washington’s fiscal house to the brink, with a government shutdown a possibility.

“The way I see it is, President Obama and his allies are wiling to shut down they federal government unless Obamacare is funded,” he said. “And I just don’t think Obamacare is more important than America.”