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

Sen. Mike LeeMike LeeCongress must reform civil asset forfeiture laws A guide to the committees: Senate Top antitrust senators call for Sessions to scrutinize AT&T-Time Warner merger 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 BurrA guide to the committees: Senate Juan Williams: Senate GOP begins to push Trump away Report: Senate Intel Committee asks agencies to keep records related to Russian probe 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 McConnellDem senator predicts Gorsuch will be confirmed ­ObamaCare fix hinges on Medicaid clash in Senate A guide to the committees: Senate 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.