Tea Party senator: Obama might have planned shutdown with ‘malicious’ intent

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) suggested Thursday that President Obama might have begun planning a government shutdown last year with “malicious” intent.

“Why was it that a few months ago … when the president had both Houses under the control of his party — why did he opt not to pass a budget for fiscal year 2011?” asked Lee, who helped found the Senate’s Tea Party Caucus earlier this year.

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“It was either irresponsible on one hand or deliberate and malicious on the other with intention to bring about a sequence of events that would culminate inevitably in a government shutdown,” said Lee.

The spending measure funding the government is set to expire at midnight Friday.

President Obama has threatened to veto a one-week stopgap measure passed by the House Thursday afternoon that includes language that would prohibit the District of Columbia from using local government funds for abortion services. It is opposed by Senate Democrats and is not expected to reach Obama's desk.

“The question we have to ask ourselves is: Why does Barack Obama, president of the United States, want a shutdown?” Lee said in his floor speech.