100 People to Watch This Fall : Page 61 of 102

Coburn may be the best Republican lawmaker to challenge the ObamaCare defunding movement. The second-term Oklahoma senator has sterling credentials on the right but has strongly criticized Sens. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeThe 14 GOP senators who voted against Trump’s immigration framework Prison sentencing bill advances over Sessions objections Grassley ‘incensed’ by Sessions criticism of proposed sentencing reform legislation MORE (R-Utah), Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzOvernight Health Care: Trump eases rules on insurance outside ObamaCare | HHS office on religious rights gets 300 complaints in a month | GOP chair eyes opioid bill vote by Memorial Day HHS official put on leave amid probe into social media posts Trump, Pence to address CPAC this week MORE (R-Texas) and others who are prepared to force a government shutdown in order to kill the law. He says the strategy won’t work and could become a public relations nightmare for Republicans if the government stops running.

Coburn has also accused the senators and their supporters of bullying those who disagree. 

In these criticisms, he joins a growing group of Republicans concerned about the party’s standing if the shutdown threat becomes reality in September. GOP strategist Karl Rove, columnist Charles Krauthammer and several establishment GOP senators have voiced similar worries. 

The conflict will come to a head after the August recess. In the meantime, Coburn, who witnessed the 1995 and 1996 government shutdowns, is unequivocal in his opposition. 

“The strategy that has been laid out is a good way for Republicans to lose the House,” he recently told The Washington Examiner.