Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) says he won’t support a debt ceiling hike unless it defunds Obamacare (Photo by Steve Pope/Getty Images)

Rubio says he won’t back a short-term budget unless Obamacare is defunded

Senator Marco Rubio is stepping up his fight against Obamacare. The Florida Republican said on Thursday that he will not vote for a short-term spending bill to keep the government open unless it cuts funding to the Affordable Care Act.

“I will not vote for a continuing resolution unless it defunds Obamacare,” Rubio said at a breakfast hosted by the conservative groups Weekly Standard and Concerned Veterans for America. “We should refuse to raise the debt limit by one single cent unless we pass and the President agrees to sign a budget that shows us how we’re going to get to balance in at least 10 years.”

He also tweeted out his stance on the bill:

Rubio argued that the law cannot be put in place without hurting the national economy. He predicted that when the President’s signature overhaul is rolled out in the fall, the showdown over government spending will come to a head.

“This debate is going to take place at the same time as the implosion of Obamacare is happening before your very eyes,” he said.

A showdown over spending is likely as the debt-ceiling discussions are coming in the fall. The GOP has already begun to draw up a list of spending cuts that they will demand in exchange for a debt ceiling hike. A recently released White House report showed that the federal budget deficit is falling, with the budget falling to a predicted $759 billion.

According to political scientist Dr. Gabriel Sanchez, who serves as director of research for Latino Decisions and interim executive director of the Center for Health Policy at the University of New Mexico, Rubio’s tough comments are likely part of an effort to get back in the good graces of conservatives who are upset over his support for the Senate immigration bill.

“I think it’s a move to help deal with some of the aftermath of immigration and that definitely could help him,” Sanchez says. “But it’s also consistent with his own stance on the Affordable Care Act.”

At a Tea Party rally on Capitol Hill last month, the Florida Senator’s name was booed by the crowd. While Rubio was likely aiming to get more conservative support, Sanchez says he doesn’t think that the once Tea Party favorite’s comments will have “major sway.” Rubio’s position also may risk alienating Latino voters, who according to Sanchez, have always supported the healthcare law.

“He is making a calculated risk,” he explains. “If his goal is to win favor with Latino voters overall, he’s in a tough spot because Latino voters have consistently been in favor of the Affordable Care Act throughout the process. He ‘s trying to solidify the base while also being a Latino candidate.”

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) says the House will vote next week on a one year delay of both the employer and individual health care mandates included in the Affordable Care Act. The move comes after the Obama administration announced last week that the employer mandate would be delayed by a year.

The House has voted three dozen times to repeal the law.

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