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Sen. Tom Coburn Will Vote to Advance Spending Bill and 'Get This Off Our Plate'

by Chris Casteel Published: September 24, 2013
U.S. Senator Tom Coburn speaks during his town hall meeting at Metro Tech Springlake Campus on Wednesday, April 3, 2013, in Oklahoma City, Okla.  Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman
U.S. Senator Tom Coburn speaks during his town hall meeting at Metro Tech Springlake Campus on Wednesday, April 3, 2013, in Oklahoma City, Okla. Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman

Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Muskogee, who has been saying for two months that the tea party strategy to defund Obamacare won’t work, said in an interview with The Oklahoman this morning that he will vote on Wednesday to advance the must-pass spending bill to keep the process moving and avoid a government shutdown.
“The whole thing is a farce,” Coburn said.
Senators who vote against advancing the bill Wednesday, he said, “are going to filibuster a bill that does exactly what they wanted it to do.”
Coburn was referring to the House spending bill that will keep government funded through Dec. 15 while denying money to the health care law known as Obamacare.
Sens. Ted Cruz, R-TX, and Mike Lee, R-UT, urged House Republicans to attach the Obamacare language to a must-pass spending bill. The House GOP did that last week and sent the Senate the bill Cruz and Lee wanted.
Now, however, Cruz and Lee are urging their colleagues in the Senate to vote against advancing the bill because it will allow the Democratic-controlled Senate the opportunity to strip the Obamacare language out of the bill.
Coburn has criticized the tactic since it was first promoted by Cruz, Lee and others, telling constituents at town hall meetings across the state that it wouldn’t work.
Coburn said the best thing to do now is “get this off our plate.”
“Everyone knows this isn’t going to happen, so why not end it?”
Coburn has said the fight over raising the debt ceiling would be the better time to press for changes in Obamacare.
Lawmakers working on the spending bill should be more concerned with how much the government is going to spend in the fiscal year that begins a week from today, he said. The resolution approved by the House, he said, spends more than is allowed under the 2011 Budget Control Act.
“Our real problem is our financial condition,” he said. “Why would we have a fight over anything but that?”

by Chris Casteel
Washington Bureau
Chris Casteel began working for The Oklahoman's Norman bureau in 1982 while a student at the University of Oklahoma. After covering the police beat, federal courts and the state Legislature in Oklahoma City, he moved to Washington in 1990, where...
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