Portman: No Funds for Obamacare Individual Mandate -- ‘I Would Support That’

By Curtis Houck | July 26, 2013 | 12:29pm EDT

Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) (AP Photo)

(CNSNews.com) - Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) said that if there is a vote on an appropriations bill that would prohibit funding for the individual mandate in Obamacare, he would support it.

“[I]f there's a vote, if we can get a vote on an appropriations bill saying no funds shall be used for the individual mandate, I would support that,” Portman told CNSNews.com on Capitol Hill on Wednesday.

CNSNews.com had asked the senator if he supported Sen. Mike Lee’s (R-Utah) initiative to oppose funding of the government in the new fiscal year (starting Oct. 1) if it provides monies for any further implementation of Obamacare, including the individual mandate that is slated to kick in on Jan. 1, 2014.

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CNSNews.com asked Portman, "Do you agree with Senator Mike Lee's (R-Utah) upcoming proposition with the continuing resolution that any funding for the individual mandate in Obamacare should be blocked since the individual mandate for big corporations has already been delayed [by the president]?"

Portman said, “I don’t know the – does he have a bill to do this? I'd very much be in favor of delaying the individual mandate and I'd need to look at his bill in terms of how you would do it, but I think if there's a vote, if we can get a vote on an appropriations bill saying no funds shall be used for the individual mandate, I would support that."

The individual mandate requires all Americans, with a few exceptions for strictly religious persons, to carry health insurance, from their employer, on their own, or through the government or pay a penalty to the IRS.

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah.)

This week, Senator Lee released a letter that he and other Republicans plan to send to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) , stating their opposition to fund the government past Sept. 30 through a continuing resolution, or CR, if it includes funding for any further implementation of Obamacare.

Part of the letter reads, “[I]f Democrats will not agree with Republicans that Obamacare must be repealed, perhaps they can at least agree with the president that the law cannot be implemented as written. If the administration will not enforce the law as written, then the American people should not be forced to fund it.

“The president cannot seriously expect to waive Obamacare’s onerous mandates on large businesses, while simultaneously forcing individuals and families to pay to implement an individual mandate the public has opposed since before the law was even passed. For these reasons, we will not support any continuing resolution or appropriations legislation that funds further implementation or enforcement of Obamacare.”

The administration has postponed implementation of the employer mandate for large businesses until 2015 but the mandate for smaller businesses and individuals is slated to go into effect on Jan. 1, 2014.

In addition to Lee, 11 other Senate Republicans have signed the letter so far and include Sens. Marco Rubio (Fla.), James Risch (Idaho), Ted Cruz (Texas), Mike Enzi (Wyoming), John Thune (S.D.), James Inhofe (Okla.), Chuck Grassley (Iowa), Rand Paul (Ky.), David Vitter (La.), Deb Fischer (Neb.) and Jeff Chisea (N.J.).

A Lee spokesman on Friday morning confirmed the names on the letter to CNSNews.com.

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