Sen. Pat Toomey praises defunding Obamacare after telling Inquirer it won’t ‘get us outcome we want’ [Updated]
Last month, U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa) met with the Inquirer to talk some federal government business, and was even praised by the Philly paper’s editorial board afterwards for sounding so reasonable on the issues.
This is something Toomey has become especially good at. It’s something Philadelphia Weekly has noted about him in the past, with regard to the gun issue.
Pennsylvania’s Republican senator is not moderate, but he’s good at seeming moderate in his public speeches, appearances, and when he speaks to editorial boards. And, pro tip: this is how to win a majority as a Pennsylvania politician.
So it was. On August 22, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported that Toomey was actually against shelving the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act by defunding it. He also said the government should not risk a government shutdown over the law.
“I’m totally in favor of the goal, but this vehicle isn’t going to achieve it,” Toomey said after meeting with the Inquirer Editorial Board. “That’s not a tactic that’s going to get us the outcome we want.”
The fight over the law is one of the most contentious in Washington and has animated Republicans. Democrats have pointed to the benefits for many uninsured Americans and people with preexisting health conditions. Republicans see it as an expensive overreach.
“I do think that the fundamental premise and design and architecture of the bill is irreparably flawed,” Toomey said.
But even if Senate Republicans had the votes for repeal, Toomey said Obama would never kill his signature domestic achievement, known to critics and supporters alike as Obamacare.
Now, Republicans, led by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) are pushing for the defunding of Obamacare.
Cruz spent all night filibustering the health care law (seriously, he went on for almost 22 hours), and he’s now got the support of some of his fellow Republican colleagues. Among those joining his filibuster: Sens. Mike Lee (R-UT), Rand Paul (R-KY) and Marco Rubio (R-FL).
The filibuster itself was to prevent the Senate from killing a measure which would make continued government funding contingent on cutting all money for Obamacare, according to CNN. In other words: It would defund Obamacare, lest we shut down the government completely. So, you’ve got to imagine seemingly-moderate Senator Pat Toomey would be against this, right?
Nope! A press release on Toomey’s website notes, in part: “I am pleased that the House measure defunds ObamaCare.”
This is coming, of course, from the same Senator who, according to the aforementioned Inquirer article, “does not think Republicans can realistically roll back the entire measure or erase its funding.” And that “his fellow Republicans had too often used filibuster threats to require 60 votes to advance bills.”
What makes matters worse is that shortly after Toomey’s interview with the Inquirer, the paper’s editorial board praised him, noting “it should be comforting to Pennsylvanians that their junior senator isn’t afraid to reach across the aisle to the benefit of all Americans” – in part based upon that same interview and Toomey’s admittance that defunding Obamacare probably won’t do anyone any good.
To be fair, he also notes that the House bill “includes my Full Faith and Credit Act to take the default option off the table if the debt ceiling is not raised, and avoids a government shutdown on October 1.” And that may be why he’s changed his position to support defunding Obamacare. But come on.
UPDATE (9/27): Are you kidding, dude? On Friday, Pat Toomey was one of 19 Republican Senators to oppose a cloture vote that would have allowed a vote on funding Obamacare. The filibuster Pat Toomey supported after not supporting it with regard to defunding Obamacare after saying defunding Obamacare was stupid…was a bust!
Did Pat Toomey troll the Inquirer?