PLAIN CITY -- Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, is adamant that Congress should vote on funding the Affordable Care Act, commonly called Obamacare, on its own merits, and not lump financing the program with a potential government shutdown.
"I need you to help communicate a message to defeat a false narrative. It's a lie. It's a lie, because I've never called for a shutdown, I don't want a shutdown," Lee said Thursday night in a town hall meeting.
He said he wants two separate votes on funding government; one on Obamacare, and the other on other government programs.
Pressed on what he would do if his initiative fails, the first-term senator from Utah said he is working with Sen. David Vitters, R-La., to pass legislation to eliminate what he described as a special carve-out for members of Congress, not making them subject to the same rules as the American public.
At one point, Lee asked the standing room-only crowd how many of them wanted to stop Obamacare, and almost everyone in the audience raised their hand.
The meeting was the second in Lee's three-week tour of the state.
His next town hall in the Top of Utah is scheduled for 7 p.m. Aug. 28 at Farmington City Hall.
Lee said the president overstepped his authority in illegally amending Obamacare three times in what he described as a blatant attempt to impact the 2014 election.
"The only way to hold him accountable is to refuse the law's implementation," he said.
The junior senator from the Beehive State also blasted current policy on immigration, talked about the need to return to the principles of the Constitution and talked about legislation he is proposing to address health care, personal security and the need to balance the budget.
Lee addressed growing concerns about the National Security Administration's access to personal information and said the government's move to protect American interests by compiling foreign intelligence has gone way too far. He said the NSA now has what he called metadata that includes information on who people called and when they called.
"They say this somehow is not the subject of a reasonable expectation of privacy. They are wrong. It's none of their darn business. I've introduced legislation to fight that. We can balance security with privacy," he said.
Lee went bi-lingual at one point in his discussion on immigration, answering one question in Spanish. He said no immigration reform will work until border security is addressed.
He voted against immigration reform passed by the Senate but said he hopes it will be blocked by the House.
He used his town hall tour to also press for local involvement on issues. He said emails, phone calls and letters do have an impact on legislation in Washington. He said claims that such efforts don't matter are wrong.
"It works, it helps a lot," he said of local response on issues.
He asked residents to go online to www.lee.senate.gov to sign a petition pushing for defunding of Obamacare.