Meet the Press   |  September 22, 2013

Battle lines drawn in shutdown showdown

A congressional roundtable discusses the potential of a government shutdown, with most lawmakers voicing confidence that such an outcome will be avoided.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> of the american economy is at stake as congress fights its way toward yet another fiscal deadline, another fiscal crisis. on friday, the house passed a vote to fund the government for the rest of the year, but that bill denies fund foing for obamacare. bottom line , if there is no agreement between the senate and the house by the end of the month, the federal government could shut down. in the meantime, the battle lines are drawn.

>> the american people don't want the government shut down, and they don't want obamacare.

>> they're not focused on you. they're focused on politics, they're focused on trying to mess with me.

>> joining me now from utah, republican senator mike lee from minnesota, democratic senator amy klobuchar , barbara lee , representative from california, and marsha blackburn of tennessee. i want to start with a question for all of you which is really a yes or no question. senator lee, is the government going to shut down?

>> no. we all know that the government is going to be funded. the question is whether it will be funded with obamacare or without.

>> senator klobuchar, do you think there will be a shutdown?

>> no, because i believe the people of good will will come together and do the right thing and stop this.

>> barbara lee , what do you think?

>> no, and we're not going to allow the defunding of the affordable care act .

>> as much as the president wants a shutdown, he's not going to get it.

>> you all think somehow that will be avoided. the question for you, senator lee, as one of the fire brands in the senate, conservatives who are fighting to defund obamacare, you got what you wanted, you wanted to have this fight, it's now in the house and coming at you in the senate. i don't have to tell you republicans are arguing with each other about whether this is the right thing. you have members of congress who think you have overprochmised to the base. carl rove wrote this on thursday. the desire to strike obamacare is praiseworthy, but any strategy to repeal, delay or replace the law must have a credible chance of succeeding or affecting broad public opinion positively. the defunding strategy doesn't. going down that road would strengthen the president while alien ate iing independents. it's a difficult tactic and the senate should reject it. what do you think about that?

>> every time we started defunding the budget in july, they attacked it. some said it is not physically or legally possible to pass a bill that funds government but defunds obamacare. we've seen all those things are untrue. we've seen the american people are rallying around this idea. they have seen the president acting to protect big business , big unions and other special interests and they want to be protected, too. this week --

>> but senator, public opinion is running against obamacare, that's a fact. you also don't have support in the senate to defund obamacare, do you?

>> well, look, here's the issue. we have to ask the question, how many more people left to lose their jobs or have their wages cut or lose their health care benefits before congress acts, before congress does something to protect the american people ? how many more states will have to announce that premiums are going up? this week we saw home depot announcing that 20,000 employees will lose their health care benefits. the house boldly active this weekend. i commend speaker boehner for his leadership on this.

>> do you have to have support in the senate to defund obamacare or don't you?

>> we had 40% support in march to defund obamacare. we will add a sixth from new jersey. i would hope a few senate democrats , especially those in red states up for reelection this year, will consider joining us.