By Jonathan Easley - 07/30/13 01:31 PM EDT
Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) on Tuesday blasted a plan endorsed by at least a dozen Republican senators to shut down the government to block funding for ObamaCare.
“I think it’s a silly effort,” Corker said on MSNBC’s “Daily Rundown.” “What people are really saying who are behind that effort is that, 'We don’t have the courage to roll up our sleeves and deal with real deficit reduction and spending decisions, and we want to take ourselves out of the debate and act like we’re being principled to the American people.'”
The second- and third-ranking members of Republican leadership, Sens. John Cornyn (Texas) and John Thune (S.D.), have said they support Lee’s plan, as do influential conservatives and potential presidential candidates Sens. Marco Rubio (Fla.) and Ted Cruz (Texas).
“I don’t look at that as very courageous. I think most of us see through it and realize that these people are really just taking themselves out of the debate,” Corker continued.
“We’ve got an opportunity to get our country right as it relates to fiscal issues. We’ve taken some big steps, and when people take themselves out of the game like this, I think people see through it and understand what’s really taking place,” he added.
Backlash against the plan has picked up steam recently among some Republicans in the Senate.
Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) spoke out against the plan last week, and Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) called it “the dumbest idea I've ever heard.”
Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) warned Friday a government shutdown would cost the GOP control of the House and could destroy the party.
“The strategy that has been laid out is a good way for Republicans to lose the House,” Coburn said in an interview with the Washington Examiner's Byron York.
“Lee’s answer [to critics] is, ‘Give me a different strategy,’” Coburn said. “Well, there isn’t one because we lost the [election]. I’m getting phone calls from Oklahoma saying, ‘Support Mike Lee,’ and I’m ramming right back — support him in destroying the Republican Party?”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), however, has refused to back the idea.