Defund Obamacare supporters target top Republicans
August 27th, 2013
05:00 AM ET
5 years ago

Defund Obamacare supporters target top Republicans

Washington (CNN) - Conservatives backing a move to shut down the federal government if funding isn't cut off for President Barack Obama's health care law by the end of September are launching a tour starting Tuesday to put pressure on leading Republicans in Congress.

The first target of the push by Tea Party Patriots and ForAmerica is Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. The groups are planning a news conference in Lexington, Kentucky, Tuesday, near McConnell's offices. The Republican is running for a sixth term in the Senate next year.

The next day the Tea Party Patriots and ForAmerica will hold an event in Austin, Texas, near Sen. John Cornyn's office. The number two ranking Senate Republican is also up for re-election in 2014. Sen. Roger Wicker of Mississippi, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia will also be in the groups' sights during the tour, which is scheduled to conclude September 4.

The new push by the two groups comes after an online ad campaign against McConnell and other GOP lawmakers, comparing them to "chickens" for opposing the Affordable Care Act but refusing to commit to defunding the law.

"Sadly, there are scores of hypocritical Republicans who have just been giving lip service to voters at home with no intention of living up to their promises in Washington. How can they tell their constituents that they are opposed to ObamaCare and then vote to have those same constituents pay for it?" wrote Tea Party Patriots co-founder Jenny Beth Martin and ForAmerica Chairman Brent Bozell in an op-ed in USA Today.

"No one has fought harder against Obamacare than Senator McConnell and he welcomes every voice in the fight to end this horrible law," McConnell re-election campaign communciations director Allison Moore told CNN.

Tuesday's event in Lexington comes as the Senate Conservatives Fund, a grassroots group which backs conservative causes and candidates, said it was going up with a 60-second radio commercial in Kentucky that urges McConnell to oppose funding the health care law, saying "Obamacare stinks and holding your nose won't make it any better."

The group says they'll run the ad for two weeks. Another conservative organization, the Madison Project, also said Tuesday that it was going up with a radio spot that claims McConnell "is undermining the conservative effort to defund ObamaCare."

Some conservative lawmakers, including Senators Ted Cruz of Texas, Marco Rubio of Florida and Mike Lee of Utah, are using upcoming budget battles as leverage, vowing to oppose any measure that provides funding for the federal government that includes funding for the health care law. The measure funding the federal government expires September 30, setting up another Capitol Hill budget battle between congressional Republicans and the White House.

But so far only slightly more than a dozen fellow Republican senators have signed up to support the cause, leaving it up to outside conservative groups to rally the base.

In an interview with CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley that ran Sunday on "State of the Union," Cruz conceded that "we do not have the votes right now," noting that to succeed, he'd need 41 senators or 218 representatives to get behind his legislation - which would provide a year of funding for the federal government, minus Obamacare.

But the Texas Republican argued a coming "grass-roots tsunami" would bring over fellow conservatives to his side in the next month.

"I'm convinced there's a new paradigm in politics, that actually has Washington very uncomfortable. And it has politicians in both parties very uncomfortable," he said. "And that new paradigm is the rise of the grass roots, the ability of grass-roots activists to demand of their elected officials they do the right thing."

The new push by the Tea Party Patriots and ForAmerica comes as another conservative political advocacy group, Heritage Action for America, says it's spending more than half a million dollars to run online ads in the districts of 100 House Republican lawmakers who have not joined the drive to try to defund the healthcare law.

And Heritage Action, which is a sister organization of the Heritage Foundation, one of the oldest and largest conservative think tanks, is a week into a nine-stop "Defund Obamacare Tour" of townhalls. Two progressive groups, Americans United for Change and Protect Your Care, have counter protested outside the events.

Americans appear divided on whether they want to repeal the law, which passed in 2010 along party lines when the Democrats controlled both houses of Congress. In one of the most recent surveys on the law, conducted last month for CBS News, nearly four in ten called for the entire law to be repealed, with 18% saying that just the measure's controversial individual mandate should be repealed. Thirty-six percent of those questioned said that the law should be kept as is, or expanded.

- CNN's Kevin Liptak contributed to this report

Filed under: Health care
soundoff (309 Responses)
  1. Tony Torres

    IT is the LAW, what more do the GOP need to except this law. Everyone, even the wackos at the Supreme Court voted it into law. Why does the GOP persist? I realize that it needs work but by trying to repeal. defunded it, etc. If Congress works to change the sections that should be tweaked maybe this law be made better to almost all, except the GOP of course, remember Obama is behind it so of course there is nothing to be done,except repeal it, how sad, we are the ones that are suffering without healthcare, they (GOP & all Congress) don't have to worry… they areset.

    August 27, 2013 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  2. vikingwoman

    I thought the government has already been shut down, for the past 4 years, by the do-nothing-except-tilt-windmills-Congress!? OK, jokes aside, Americans need Affordable Healthcare & we've been asking for it for over a decade! The GOTP has nothing to replace it because they want healthcare to continue to be a luxury in the hands of expensive, money grabbing insurance companies! And how do these groups dare to call themselves Patriots, when they serve only the upper crust 2%! Cruz is right about a "grassroots tsunami,"but not as he envisions it, as working Americans will protest the T-Party's underhanded, belligerent & bullying methods to stop Americans from having the affordable care the GOTP enjoy for their lifetimes! On our backs & hard earned tax $$, no less! Universal Healthcare for all=less preventable illness, less loss of homes/savings to pay outrageous hospital bills & more productivity!!

    August 27, 2013 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  3. Wake up People!

    The biggest crybaby hissy fit I've ever seen in my life. After their lies and attempted voter suppression failed, they will now pretend the 2012 election never happened and demand the victor, President Obama, does things their way.

    Keep up the good work boys, but we see exactly who you are under that sheet.

    August 27, 2013 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  4. Viventis

    The Tea Party and the far right are desperate to end ObamaCare now. The question is why. The rhetoric is that the ACA is a train wreck and will destroy the health care and/or health insurance industry. That is what they are feeding their base and the public. But, that is not their fear. They fear that once the Exchanges come on line, that the Act will be successful. That would be disastrous for the Republican Party! They would be looked at as the party that spent almost all of their time and effort to end legislation that is good for the country. A complete nightmare for the far right.

    August 27, 2013 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  5. JCT

    The GOPs are growing increasingly shrill – they must be terrified that the ACA is actually going to work and people will like it! Given the choice between Obamacare and Republicans' NoCare, it's just a matter of time before the public gets wise to them.

    August 27, 2013 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  6. BlackThought

    Can we deport this woman to the arctic or something?

    August 27, 2013 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  7. Maryellen

    Vote out all republicans in 2014 and vote for Hillary in 2016!

    August 27, 2013 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  8. Brian

    The Tea Party and their ilk who suppor this shutdown are traitors to American Democracy. Pure and simple. Looking out for their own best interest without giving a damn about the country. If they want another Civil War, happy to oblige. Should have burned them all out years ago. Traitors.

    August 27, 2013 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  9. kevin

    Civil war now!

    August 27, 2013 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  10. Ron in SC

    Ha, just as I expected...they eat their own!

    August 27, 2013 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  11. Whatever man...

    @ JCT: so true,'s amazing that the GOP has been able to fool so many for such a long, long, long, time....

    August 27, 2013 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  12. Ech

    The GOP is so cute with their little tantrums!

    August 27, 2013 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  13. Mancee Grayce

    This is grand entertainment, watching the party of angry old white men stab each other in their spineless backs! Obama is an impotent, naked emperor and the GOP still can't muster anything better.

    August 27, 2013 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  14. DJ Reality

    We need to stop the madness. Healthcare costs are going through the roof. We do conservatives hate A.H.A. and why don't want others to have affordable healthcare?

    August 27, 2013 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  15. Gurgy

    GOP is doooooomed to death. For a decade or two–rethuglicans are out of question.

    August 27, 2013 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  16. sly

    Nothing makes a Nazi cry more than having to pay taxes to provide education and health care to black people.

    Haven't seen so many she-men crying since Dale Earnhart died.

    Grow some, GOP.

    August 27, 2013 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  17. ThinkAgain

    @Brian: "The Tea Party and their ilk who suppor this shutdown are traitors to American Democracy. Pure and simple."

    I agree – what else do you call people who actively work to thwart the will of the American people who elected President Obama TWICE, retained a Democratic majority in the Senate and cast more votes (by more than a million) for Democratic candidates in the House in 2012?

    August 27, 2013 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  18. James

    I thought Tea Partiers "weren't Republican". Strange.

    August 27, 2013 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  19. Rudy NYC

    Whatever man...

    @ JCT: so true,'s amazing that the GOP has been able to fool so many for such a long, long, long, time....
    JCT is spot on. Obamacare or WeDon'tCare, take your pick. The GOP has fooled people for so long because they have been masters at swaying public opinion by telling people what to think. They make altruistic sounding arguments that mask their true motives. Bush woke up America to start paying better attention.

    The fight against paaing, which has now evolved into repealing the ACA is a textbook example. They allowed the Tea Party to make hyperbolic, contradictory arguments. They feigned total ignorance of the law's content, while at the same time telling you about every horror that it supposedly contained.

    Now they've convinced their base that insurance mandates are a bad thing, despite the fact that they originated and supported the idea just a few short years ago. The critical difference and the real, unspoken objection to the law is the caps and limits placed on the profits taken by health insurers. Politicians cannot argue about not making enough profit, but arguing against mandates is an easy rallying cry.

    August 27, 2013 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  20. Nino

    Lincoln got it wrong.....He should have let the south secede!! they would have kept their slaves and make the south a Christian state. And the North could have prosper in a more coherent way.

    August 27, 2013 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  21. Ngoc-V-Le/Le-Roy

    Healthcare is very information to the Country.We need go to Under Control by GOV'T and Protect Our Country by Homeland Security Because! This is International But the Land OF U-S. Why GOV'T not Control The Land To Be Good in the future??..System Healthcare that is a basis make the Country to be Strong by Economy! BUT WE NEED GO TO THE RIGHT THING...No1.We protection Our Country.No2.We protection Homeland Security. No3 We protection Associated and Community. No4.We save money to Our Country.No5.The people Who what ever come to the land OF U-S need to buy health insurance Lowcost Under Control by GOV'T..Because! HEALTHCARE IS HUMANITY,AND MORALITY.WE DON'T LET SOME BUSINESS or Market control Healthcare by idea plan WE HAVE OVER 150 billion a year spend to Healthcare to every people living in the U-S. MY PLAN NO HURT GOP or GOV'T OF U-S..

    August 27, 2013 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  22. John

    Every state has the exclusive right to opt out of Obamacare, per the Supreme Court decision......why don't these "conservatives" just work on their own states to opt out, rather than worry about what the rest of the country wants to do....after all don't these "conservatives" believe in states rights?

    August 27, 2013 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  23. observer1776

    From the Natiomal Center for Public Policy Research

    If the ObamaCare health insurance exchanges are to function properly, it is crucial that a substantial number of people ages 18-34 join them. This age group that is young and relatively healthy must purchase health insurance on the exchanges in order to "cross-subsidize" people who are older and sicker. Without the young and healthy, the exchanges will enter a "death spiral" where only the older and sicker participate and price of insurance premiums will increase precipitously.

    This study finds that in 2014 many single people aged 18-34 who do not have children will have a substantial financial incentive to forego insurance on the exchanges and instead pay the individual mandate penalty of $95 or one percent of income. About 3.7 million of those ages 18-34 will be at least $500 better off if they forgo insurance and pay the penalty. More than 3 million will be $1,000 better off if they go the same route. This raises the likelihood that an insufficient number of young and healthy people will participate in the exchanges, thereby leading to a death spiral.

    For a $50,000 person, that would be $500/yr which is far cheaper that the anticipated yearly total of premiums. The death spiral would be certain if that money is spent by the government and not put back in the system.

    August 27, 2013 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  24. Nino

    observer1776, people soon or later will use the health care services, there is no way out of it. So on top of the penalty for not joining they will pay the hyperbolic whole cost of health care services. Now that's a good economic plan!?!?!?!

    August 27, 2013 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  25. Rudy NYC

    observer1776 wrote:

    This study finds that in 2014 many single people aged 18-34 who do not have children will have a substantial financial incentive to forego insurance on the exchanges and instead pay the individual mandate penalty of $95 or one percent of income.

    For a $50,000 person, that would be $500/yr which is far cheaper that the anticipated yearly total of premiums. The death spiral would be certain if that money is spent by the government and not put back in the system.
    First of all, you are encouraging people to not purchase health insurance. What is supposed to happen when they break an arm or a leg on the beach? Second of all, you are leaving out the fact that the penalty for the first year is low, to allow people time to adjust and find insurance without feeling rushed. The fine increases dramatically. It can quickly jump to $2500 per year for your example.

    No, folks. The real right objection is the unspoken objection to the limit on profits taken by health insurers. But, conservatives just cannot come out and argue against that, can they? They have to find some populist argument to make to hide the true motive, which is removing the cap on profits to 20% of premiums. Health care executives make for too much money for doing what exactly? I'll tell you. Figuring out how they can make even more money.

    August 27, 2013 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
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