Senator Mike Lee: "Tell them to fund the government, not Obamacare"

This morning on radio, Senator Mike Lee joined the program to talk to Glenn about the growing effort in the Senate to block any continuing resolutions that will fund Obamacare. According to Senator Lee, and the Senators standing with him, this could be the last chance to stop the unpopular law from fundamentally changing the country and the role of government in our daily lives forever. Senator Lee believe that the reason he and so many others were elected to office in 2010 was in direct response to the passing of the health care law. If they don't stop it, they've failed, so he says it's their responsibility to try.

If the American people understand what's on the table, Senator Lee thinks there is a real chance of success. Will the American people take action to stop Congress from passing any continuing resolutions that will fund Obamacare? Watch the full interview above or read the transcript below to see what the Senator says you can do to get involved and help stop funding for Obamacare.

Full Transcript:

GLENN: let's go to Senator Mike Lee who is on with us.  He has ‑‑ he and Rand Paul and Ted Cruz, among others, have put together a movement that really does need to become a movement, and I'm asking the TEA Parties, I'm asking the churches, I'm asking the 9/12 project, I'm asking anyone within the sound of my voice to get involved and lead this.  This has to be a movement.  By September 30th, the Senate has to be convinced.  41 Republicans ‑‑ or 41 senators need to be convinced to defund the president's healthcare.  This is coming in a continuing resolution.  Harry Reid is going to say the Republicans are trying to shut down the government, et cetera, et cetera.  Not true.  It's not even trying to ‑‑ in my view not even trying to shut down universal healthcare but trying to make sure that the Constitution and our system is protected.  The president is picking and choosing what parts of laws now to enforce.  He can't do that.  This was passed as a package in a certain way.  It's falling apart, so he's saying without congress, "Well, I'm only going to do this part and this part."  Well, that's not what the law ‑‑ that's not how it works.  And Senator Lee is making this case, but he needs you to call your senator and get involved.  And Mike Lee is here to talk to us about it just a little bit.

 

Mike? 

 

LEE:  It's good to be with you, Glenn.  Thank you very much. 

 

GLENN:  Did I ‑‑ am I miscasting this at all? 

 

LEE:  No, no.  That was perfect.  I mean, look.  We were elected, a whole bunch of Republicans, to the House and to the Senate in 2010 with one very simple mandate:  Get rid of ObamaCare.  Stop it.  And since we took office, we've passed CR after CR that continued to fund ObamaCare.  I understand why that happened, even though I didn't vote for those.  You know, a lot of people thought the Supreme Court would strike down ObamaCare.  It didn't.  A lot of people thought we would elect a Republican president and he would stop ObamaCare; that didn't happen, either.  We've got one last shot.  This is the final stop on the ObamaCare Express Train before these things kick in on January 1st.  We've got to defund it, we've got to defund it now.  We've got to have all Republicans who purport to be against ObamaCare to say that they will draw a line in the sand they will not cross and that line is they are not going to fund ObamaCare. 

 

GLENN:  I was talking to a senator the other day, and he told me that the Republicans are worse than you think, Glenn.  He said they're doing the same old thing and what one Republican suggested in, I guess your meetings or whatever, what one of these guys suggested was that they just pass a nonbinding resolution to stand against universal healthcare and said, just do that because the president is just going to continue to fight.  He'll die on his sword on this one.  We've got to give up because he never will. 

 

LEE:  That's right.  And that would make the Republicans in congress much like the unarmed English bobby who upon seeing the commission of a crime yells "Stop or I'll yell stop again."  We've become totally Feckless and we can't law that to happen.  That would be devastating to the Republican Party, to the conservative cause and to the country as a whole. 

 

GLENN:  You said, Mike, when I first talked to you, somebody had told me that you were going to run, and I didn't know you and I said "I want to talk to him."  And I called you and you pulled your car off to the side of the road.  You and your wife were driving in through a canyon and you were going to lose the phone connection.  And I asked you a pretty pointed question about how was your soul, and you answered in the right way.  And then we started ‑‑ I said, what do you know about the Constitution?  And you started talking to me about how you were raised on the Constitution.  And it sounded to me like you were brought up for this time or times like these to protect the Constitution.  Forget about ObamaCare here for a second and tell me a little bit about the Constitution and why, why this has to be stopped because, do you believe at all that it is going to put the final nail in the coffin of congress or in the Senate to where the president doesn't need approval, doesn't even really need to go to you guys; he can just interpret laws the way he wants? 

 

LEE:  Yes.  That's a big problem.  So this strikes at the heart of two very big problems in our republic.  One is the problem of federalism being ignored.  Federalism refers to the fact that most of the power under the Constitution is supposed to be retained by the people, to be exercised locally and at the state level.  Only a few powers are supposed to go to the federal government, and the power to tell us where to go to the doctor and how to pay for it and that we have to buy a certain kind of health insurance is not among them.

 

The other part of that power, separation of powers that you were just referring to, the laws are supposed to be made by congress, not by the court which rewrote ObamaCare twice in order to uphold it after finding that it was unconstitutional as written, and not in the president, who has now amended ObamaCare twice, once in saying individuals have to comply with the law during the first year but employers don't.  And then it's saying we're not even going to require people to prove their income based on their eligibility, in order to establish their eligibility for ObamaCare subsidies.  And so this really is about the Constitution, Glenn.  It's not just about a single policy.  This is about the protection of an institution that has made this the greatest civilization the world has ever known.  This document was put here to make men and women free.  It was written by wise men who I think were raised up for that very purpose, to establish and protect freedom.  This is being threatened actively by our president and we as Republicans will be complicit if we vote to fund ObamaCare yet again before it kicks in. 

 

GLENN:  Okay.  Mike, the American people are tired, they don't believe most people in congress, they don't believe their voice makes a difference, they've marched, they've talked, they've done all kinds of things.  Somebody's calling Pat the right now to say, hey, I'm ‑‑ I'm part of that.  Some of us would turn our phone off in a broadcast, but ‑‑

 

PAT:  Some of us probably thought it was. 

 

GLENN:  That would only be one of us.  Anyway, so the people are tired and they think ‑‑

 

PAT:  That's not mine.  That's not mine! 

 

STU:  That was Glenn's the whole time? 

 

GLENN:  I don't own a phone.  I don't own a phone.  So it's not mine. 

 

PAT:  I just threw mine out. 

 

GLENN:  No, you didn't.

 

PAT:  Oh, no, I didn't. 

 

GLENN:  It's right there.

 

PAT:  There it is. 

 

GLENN:  Oh, it is yours! 

 

LEE:  What do you mean you don't own a phone?  You rent with an option to buy? 

 

GLENN:  I don't carry a cellphone.  Anyway, the thing that I wanted to have you address is people don't believe that you guys ‑‑ and I'm not saying you, but many in the congress and in the Senate are not serious, that this is some sort of, you know, nonbinding resolution, that their voice won't make a difference, et cetera, et cetera.  Please address to the people what you think they need to do and why this time it will make a difference and this time it is imperative that you do it. 

 

LEE:  Okay.  This time it will make a difference because the people can express in clear unequivocal terms that they understand Republicans in congress are in one of two camps:  Those who are for ObamaCare and those who are against it.  If they really are against it as basically all Republicans in congress claim to be, then they must indicate that they are against it by agreeing that they will not vote to fund ObamaCare.  They won't vote for any continuing resolution that contains money for further enforcement and implementation of ObamaCare.

 

There are a couple of ways you can get that message across:  First, call your senators and call your congressmen and tell them in those very simple terms "Don't vote for any CR that contains ObamaCare funding." 

 

GLENN:  CR is continuing resolution? 

 

LEE:  Continuing resolution.  Don't vote for any funding mechanism that contains ObamaCare funding.  Number two, you can sign a petition that we've got going on my website, Lee.Senate.gov.  Go to Lee.Senate.gov, and click on the link that says "Don't fund it."  You click on that link, you can sign a petition.  You can sign up with a letter that I've written that I'm having other senators sign.  You can join that same letter telling Harry Reid that we don't want any funding mechanism to fund ObamaCare. 

 

GLENN:  And you think Harry Reid ‑‑ I mean, let me just play this out.  Harry Reid is going to with the president say they are going to try to stop congress, they are going to shut down the government.  These Republicans are out to destroy the government.  They want to shut it all down."  That's what they'll do. 

 

LEE:  Sure.  Maybe that's where they will go because that's where their political instincts and their reflexes tell them to go.  They are so used to saying that, it just comes out naturally.  But the reason that this petition is so important at Lee.Senate.gov and these phone calls are so important is because once he sees that that's where the people are and that's where their elected representatives are, he will see that it's going to have to be him.  It's not us trying to do that.  We don't want a government shutdown.  We shouldn't have a government shutdown.  We want to avoid that.  And what we're saying is if he wants a government shutdown simply because he so badly wants to push through the implementation of a law that is so bad for the American people that makes health insurance costs go way up that's made fundamentally unfair because corporations don't have to comply with it but individuals do, once he sees that, he will realize he's going to have to shut down the government and I don't think he can do that, not for a law that's this unstable, that's this unpopular. 

 

GLENN:  Mike, I appreciate it, and I appreciate the stance that you and a handful of senators are making.  You need 41 from either side to stand with you? 

 

LEE:  Yeah, we need 41 senators to stand with us on this.  And I don't care whether they are Republicans or Democrats, but we need 41 senators who are willing to say we're not going to vote for are any continuing resolution or other appropriations bill that contains ObamaCare funding.  In other words, the message is fund the government, not ObamaCare.  That's what we want to do.  That's what our movement is about. 

 

GLENN:  How bad is the pressure on both sides? 

 

LEE:  Well, it's intense.  It's intense.  You know, already you've got Democrats, the White House and Democrats in the Senate accusing us of going where they themselves would take us according to their words, and you've got a lot of Republicans who don't agree with the strategy so far.  But I think once they think about it, once they realize what we were sent here to do, I hope and expect that a lot of Republicans will decide to join onto this effort because it's what the American people demand and it's what the country needs. 

 

GLENN:  Well, Mike, I've talked to many senators and many congressmen in the last couple of weeks and I have never seen their concern as great as it is right now and I think we are ‑‑ we're at the end of the road.  Our Constitution hangs in the balance unlike it ever has before.  I would think that you would agree with me on that. 

 

LEE:  I do. 

 

GLENN:  And this is it.  And by September 30th, this really could be it.  This could be it. 

 

LEE:  That's right.  And we've got to help people understand that so that we can resist the impulse that Republicans in congress seem to have.  It's almost an epidemic, Glenn.  The impulse is always "Let's live to fight another day."  Better said, it would be let's live another day so that we cannot fight another day and say live to fight another day.  This is the fight, and if we give up on this fight, the reason this is so important is that I think Republicans will lose power if we don't do this because the people will look at it and say, "Look, there's no difference anyway.  Why should we trust those guys to power when they promised to take power and stuff off ObamaCare and then all they do are make symbolic votes in that direction." 

 

PAT:  Now, Mike, are you guys prepared to stand up and defend this when you are accused of trying to shut down the government?  "That's all these people want to do is they're anti‑government and that's all they want to do is shut down the government," who's going to step forward when that begins and fight for this thing? 

 

LEE:  Well, we're already facing that right now and so this is nothing new to us.  People are already saying that.  And our response is this is not about a government shutdown.  We don't want that, we don't need that, we're trying to protect against that. 

 

PAT:  Yeah

 

LEE:  We're saying you can protect against that if only you will fund government, not ObamaCare.  That's what we want, that's what we demand, that's what the American people are going to demand and I invite all within the sound of my voice to join me in this effort, contact their senators and congressmen.  Tell them to fund government, not ObamaCare. 

The themes of healing and redemption appear throughout the Bible.

Our bodies are buried in brokenness, but they will be raised in glory. They are buried in weakness, but they will be raised in strength. — 1 Corinthians 15:43
It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners. — Mark 2:17.

So, for many Christians, it's no surprise to hear that people of faith live longer lives.

Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved, for you are my praise. — Jeremiah 17:14.

But it is certainly lovely to hear, and a recent study by a doctoral student at Ohio State University is just one more example of empirical evidence confirming the healing benefits of faith and religious belief.

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Moreover, the study finds that religious belief can lengthen a person's life.

A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. — Proverbs 17:22
Lord, your discipline is good, for it leads to life and health. You restore my health and allow me to live! — Isaiah 38:16

The study analyzed over 1,000 obituaries nationwide and found that people of faith lived longer than people who were not religious. Laura Wallace, lead author of the study, noted that "religious affiliation had nearly as strong an effect on longevity as gender does, which is a matter of years of life."

The study notes that, "people whose obits mentioned a religious affiliation lived an average of 5.64 years longer than those whose obits did not, which shrunk to 3.82 years after gender and marital status were considered."

And He called to Him His twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every affliction. — Matthew 10:1

"The researchers found that part of the reason for the boost in longevity came from the fact that many religiously affiliated people also volunteered and belonged to social organizations, which previous research has linked to living longer. The study provides persuasive evidence that there is a relationship between religious participation and how long a person lives," said Baldwin Way, co-author of the study and associate professor of psychology at Ohio State.

Prayer is good medicine, and faith is a good protector.

In addition, the study showed how the effects of religion on longevity might depend in part on the personality and average religiosity of the cities where people live, Way said.

Prayer is good medicine, and faith is a good protector.

And the power of the Lord was with him to heal. — Luke 5:17
Heal the sick in it and say to them, The kingdom of God has come near to you. — Luke 10:9.

In early June, the Social Security and Medicare trustees released their annual report on the fiscal health of these programs, and the situation looks dire. Medicare is scheduled to run out of money in 2026 (three years sooner than anticipated), while Social Security is expected to run out in 2034. The rising national debt is only one of the well-known financial struggles the millennial generation faces. The burdens of student loan debt, high housing prices (thanks to zoning restrictions), stagnant wage growth, the rising cost of healthcare and lingering aftershocks of the Great Recession are among the biggest sources of economic anxiety millennials feel.

Progressive politicians have been very successful at courting the youth vote, partly because they actually promote policy ideas that address many of these concerns. As unrealistic or counterproductive as Senator Bernie Sanders' proposals for single-payer health care or a $15 an hour minimum wage might be, they feel in theory like they would provide the economic stability and prosperity millennials want.

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Republicans, on the other hand, have struggled to craft a message to address these concerns. Fiscal conservatives recognize, correctly, that the burden of the $20 trillion national debt and over $200 trillion in unfunded liabilities will fall on millennials. Some conservatives have even written books about that fact. But the need to reform entitlements hasn't exactly caught millennials' attention. Pollster Kristen Soltis Anderson, in her book The Selfie Vote, notes that millennials generally view protecting the safety net as more important than reducing the deficit.

Clearly, Republicans have a problem. They need to craft solutions that address the millennial generation's struggles, but they can't seem to sell entitlement reform, their biggest policy preference that addresses those problems. The Republican approach to wooing millennials on policy is failing because talking about stopping the debt from reaching an unsustainable level is long-term and abstract, and offers few immediate tangible benefits. A new approach to both pave the way for entitlement reform and give millennials an immediate financial boost is to first reform not entitlement spending, but the payroll tax: specifically, by partially (or wholly) replacing it with a value-added tax.

Under the current Social Security model, workers pay for the benefits of current retirees through the payroll tax. This system creates the illusion of a pension program, in which what you put in is what you get out, but in reality Social Security is a universal safety net program for the elderly paid for by taxes. The payroll tax falls on workers and is a tax on labor, while the value-added tax (VAT) is a tax on consumption imposed at every part of the production process. Assuming that this policy change is revenue-neutral, switching to a VAT will shift the responsibility for funding Social Security and Medicare away from workers, disproportionately poorer and younger, and onto everyone participating in the economy as a whole. Furthermore, uncoupling Social Security funding from payroll taxes would pave the way for fiscal reforms to transform the program from a universal benefit program to one geared specifically to eliminating old-age poverty, such as means-testing benefits for high-income beneficiaries, indexing benefits to prices rather than wages or changing the retirement age.

Switching from the payroll tax to the VAT would address both conservative and liberal tax policy preferences.

Switching from the payroll tax to the VAT would address both conservative and liberal tax policy preferences. As the Tax Policy Center notes, the change would actually make the tax system more progressive. The current payroll tax is regressive, meaning that people with lower incomes tend to pay a higher effective tax rate than people with higher incomes. On the other hand, the value-added tax is much closer to proportional than the payroll tax, meaning that each income group pays closer to the same effective tax rate.

For Republicans, such a change would fit conservative economic ideas about the long-run causes of economic growth. A value-added tax has a much broader base than the payroll tax, and therefore would allow for much lower marginal tax rates, and lower marginal tax rates mean smaller disincentives to economic activity. According to the Tax Foundation's analysis of a value-added tax, the VAT would be a more economically efficient revenue source than most other taxes currently in the tax code.

Not only would replacing part or all of the payroll tax provide an immediate benefit to millennial taxpayers, it would also open the door for the much-needed entitlement reforms that have been so politically elusive. Furthermore, it would make the tax code both more pro-growth and less regressive. In order to even begin to address the entitlement crisis, win millennial support and stimulate the economy in a fiscally responsible manner, Republicans must propose moving from the payroll tax to the VAT.

Alex Muresianu is a Young Voices Advocate. His writing has appeared in Townhall and The Federalist. He is a federal policy intern at the Tax Foundation. Opinions expressed here are his only and not the views of the Tax Foundation. He can be found on Twitter @ahardtospell.

Glenn was joined by Alanna Sarabia from "Good Morning Texas" at Mercury Studios on Thursday for an exclusive look at Mercury Museum's new "Rights & Responsibilities" exhibit. Open through Father's Day, the temporary museum features artifacts from pop culture, America's founding, World Ward II and more, focusing on the rights and responsibilities America's citizens.

Get tickets and more information here.

Watch as Glenn gives a sneak peek at some of the unique artifacts on display below.

History at the Mercury Museum

Alanna Sarabia interviews Glenn Beck for "Good Morning Texas" at Mercury Studios.

Several months ago, at the Miss Universe competition, two women took a selfie, then posted it on Instagram. The caption read, "Peace and love." As a result of that selfie, both women faced death threats, and one of the women, along with her entire family, had to flee her home country. The occasion was the 2017 Miss Universe competition, and the women were Miss Iraq and Miss Israel. Miss Iraq is no longer welcome in her own country. The government threatened to strip her of her crown. Of course, she was also badgered for wearing a bikini during the competition.

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In an interview, Miss Iraq, Sarah Idan, said:

When I posted the picture I didn't think for a second there would be blowback. I woke up to calls from my family and the Miss Iraq Organization going insane. The death threats I got online were so scary. The director of the Miss Iraq Organization called me and said they're getting heat from the ministry. He said I have to take the picture down or they will strip me of my title.

Yesterday, Miss Iraq, Sarah Idan, posted another selfie with Miss Israel, during a visit to Jerusalem.

In an interview, she said that:

I don't think Iraq and Israel are enemies; I think maybe the governments are enemies with each other. There's a lot of Iraqi people that don't have a problem with Israelis.

This is, of course, quite an understatement: Iraq, home to roughly 15,000 Palestinians, refuses to acknowledge Israel as a legitimate country, as it is technically at war with Israel. The adages says that a picture is worth a thousand words. What are we to do when many of those words are hateful or deadly? And how can we find the goodness in such bad situations?