Lee downplays ObamaCare shutdown threat: Government ‘going to get funded’

Sen. Mike LeeMike LeeFunding bill rejected as shutdown nears Shutdown risk grows over Flint Conservative group presses GOP to vote against spending bill MORE (R-Utah) on Sunday defended his efforts to block any funding bill that provides money to roll out the president's healthcare reforms and downplayed the chances those efforts could shutdown the government.

"We all know the government is going to get funded, the only question is if the government gets funded with ObamaCare or without it," said Lee on “Fox News Sunday.” "If we can delay it, we can stop its consequences at least for now."

Lee said he was not calling for a shutdown, given the impossible odds President Obama would sign a bill defunding his signature legislative achievement.

Lee has been working to build support for a Republican effort that would reject any government funding bill that includes funds to implement ObamaCare. But he has faced some difficulty winning over some in his party. Sen. Richard BurrRichard BurrThe Trail 2016: Fight night Poll finds races for president, Senate tight in North Carolina Senate rivals gear up for debates MORE (R-N.C.) called it the "dumbest idea I've ever heard of."

Several Republicans who once signed on to Lee's letter laying out his approach have since asked to have their name removed from it. And Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellReid blocks Thune airwaves bill on floor over nomination fight McConnell: Senate could drop flood money from spending bill Pelosi dismisses GOP 'promise' of Flint funding, wants action now MORE (R-Ky.) has refused to back the idea.

Lee, though, said the president’ healthcare reforms needed to be stopped and cited a White House decision to delay a key provision as justification.

"If the president's not ready to implement the law, if it's not ready for prime time, Congress shouldn't fund it," he said.

The White House announced earlier this month it would delay the implementation of a key portion of the law — an employer mandate requiring larger employers to offer health insurances to employees — until 2015.