Sen. Patrick Toomey said Monday that Republicans should chip away at Obamacare over time and eventually repeal it when they have more control on Capitol Hill — putting him at odds with members of the GOP who are advocating a no-holds-barred strategy that could lead to a government shutdown.
Mr. Toomey, Pennsylvania Republican, said that the GOP is not unified on tactics because they do not agree on what a “realistic expectation is when we control one out of the three parts of the elected government.”
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“When you control only one out of the three, you don’t get to dictate all the terms,” Mr. Toomey said during an appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “But you can have some wins if you are smart.”
Mr. Toomey said he agrees with his colleagues that the law “cannot be fixed,” but he does not agree on tactics, which should start with wiping away parts of the law like the medical device tax.
“I think our strategy should be systematically repeal the pieces that we can, delay the things that we can’t repeal and wait for the day that we can repeal the rest,” Mr. Toomey said. “You can’t fix this. It is fundamentally the wrong direction to put government so much in control of health care.”
House Republicans last week passed a continuing funding resolution — largely along party lines — that keeps the government running beyond the end of the fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30, and defunds Mr. Obama’s signature legislative achievement: the 2010 Affordable Care Act.
The Democrat-controlled Senate is set to pick up the debate this week.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, has said the House proposal is a nonstarter, and President Obama has said he would veto any spending bill that does not include money for his health care law.
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But a breakaway group of GOP lawmakers in the chamber led by Sens. Mike Lee of Utah and Ted Cruz of Texas have urged their colleagues to reject any bills that have funding for Obamacare — a move that some Republicans warn could push the nation closer to a government shutdown and come back to haunt the GOP in future elections.