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. Bob

    I expect this of the Tea Party since their an invention of the Koch Brothers and Fox News, but why the GOP doesn't realize that ultimately you still can't buy an election (at least not two terms in a row) because we live in the information age so you can't run from your record.

    August 27, 2013 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  2. wildernessyes

    Why don't you conservatives and republicans like health care or healthy people?

    Could it be your hate, your intolerance, your ignorance?

    August 27, 2013 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  3. rs

    Tail bites dog, film at 11.

    August 27, 2013 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  4. Eddie Fonseca

    Health care has always been on the minds of the working class of many American family's who struggle everyday to put food on the table in our great land, which is suppose to be a land of the free and have the best healthcare system in the world. Where we fall short like our nations such as Canada and Europe is that they have free health care, and their citzens don't have to pay for it and their drugs are not so over priced like ours in the good old USA. As American who has been to Canada and other places in Europe, their citzens don't need to make the hard choice when it comes to seeing a doctor will my healthcare insurance pay for this because it's all taken care of by the goverment. The goverment's of other nations don't belive there is a profit to made on sick people, like when the insurance company's and doctors battle it out on the telphone who will pay for the bill when a sick child is dying of cancer in the same room when this conversation should never take place in America. As Americans we need to ask our some tough questions in our lives, how can we approve as nation to fund our US Milltary when it comes to blowing a terriost in the Middle East but on the same side we can say no to having free healthcare in this great country. So let me ask a question to all Americans if that was your son or daugther dying of cancer on the table, would you not want a healthcare system that would make your children better or the latest weapons to defend our American style of lives in the globe for years to come.

    August 27, 2013 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  5. Maltytasker

    "Tea Party Patriots" is an oxymoron. True patriots put their country first. The Tea Party puts their own agenda first, and threaten to hurt the country if they don't get what they want. Perhaps "Tea Party Terrorists" is a more fitting label.

    August 28, 2013 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  6. Larry L

    The Syria issue will cause Republicans to push towards war while accepting no responsibilities for the outcome.For the GOP the war is about making money from defense contractors while slamming the President for entering the conflict.Don't look for honorable behavior from Republicans at any level.

    August 28, 2013 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  7. CaliforniaAC

    The lie machine (Tea Party) is in high gear. They have taken over the GoofyOldParty and having it their way with lies, lies and more lies for their base.. Obamacare is the law of the land and it is here to stay so live with it. All the talk of defunding it or repealing it is garbage designed to scare people. The GOP better stop the Teapot nuts or become the Gone Party for generations to come.

    August 28, 2013 12:13 am at 12:13 am |
  8. Lenny Pincus

    The Tea Party loons stopped being Americans years ago–back when their ancestors were called Know-Nothings or Birchers or any number of stupid names. However, this latest feeding frenzy is one beautiful case of Karma.

    August 28, 2013 12:14 am at 12:14 am |
  9. Red

    When Republicans Eat Their Young: Campaign 2014.

    August 28, 2013 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  10. Jeffrey Smith

    I don't have any heartburn with defunding Obamacare but I would like us to stop this goofy approach to medical care. If someone can't afford the care or doesn't have insurance – they shouldn't be allowed inside hospital. We should have the ambulance drivers verify their insurance/availability of cash before they drive to the house/accident. I shouldn't have to pay more for a doctor just because some guy made the mistake of not getting a job that pays enough to cover the insurance or doctor bill. We should also go ahead and eliminate the ability of people to bankrupt medical debt. While were at it, could we set up some debt prisons???

    August 28, 2013 12:21 am at 12:21 am |
  11. Eli

    Grab your popcorn folks. We get to watch the republican party be destroyed by its own monster.

    August 28, 2013 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  12. Dave

    Looks like the Republicans want to spend a generation or more as minority party. It WILL happen, Republican voters. Get control of your party quick!

    August 28, 2013 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  13. necronn99

    Putting a system in that already a failure. .sort of like obama. BUt hey we do not learn .. we will do and pow .. system crash.

    August 28, 2013 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  14. Anonymous

    It's fun watching the GOP implode because of the monster they themselves created.

    Some people think that the Tea Party and it's extremism was a grass roots effort when in rea

    August 28, 2013 12:59 am at 12:59 am |
  15. Anonymous

    Rhonda Rahn – "GOP eats their own. Let's vote the Repugs out of office in 2014."

    People forget that the Tea Party was not actually created by a grass roots effort. It was monied and pushed into existance by Republicans like Dick Armey and Tom DeLay (co-incidentally both ended up being disgraced politicians too....). Go back and check the facts of the early days of the Tea Party. They were pushed into existance as a weaponized special interest group 'monster' to attack the liberals and democrats with. Now, as with all monsters, it has attacked it's supposed masters as it creates chaos in it's wake...

    I love watching them suffer under a terror of thier own creation.

    August 28, 2013 01:03 am at 1:03 am |
  16. Rembrant

    I saw it coming: even Republicans are tired of Republicans.

    August 28, 2013 02:19 am at 2:19 am |
  17. SecrtSqurll

    The Democrats can never thank the Tea Party enough. Republicans can not win without them, they can't beat Democrats with them. Political nirvana.

    August 28, 2013 02:33 am at 2:33 am |
  18. GEORGE

    What the current brand of conservatism is trying to sell to us is that government is bad because it costs money to implement programs whose costs would otherwise be spent on the free market. What they don't tell you is that government does things that the private sector can't do. I like my car having safety features and being subject to recalls, I like my food inspected, I like my drugs to be tested, I like to look at NOAA's website and see what the weather will be like, and I like programs like Obamacare that try provide basic economic benefits to everyone irrespective of their wealth. As good as capitalism is, it doesn't work when it is unfettered; look at the gilded age in our country or China in our current times. I gladly pay the $60000 plus a year in taxes to live in a country that has those values. No governance is not a solution, but that is the distortion of LIbertarian values that the Tea Party whack jobs are trying to sell us. Obama is guilty of not acting like FDR and calling the Republicans for what they are: selfish greedy prigs who have no social consciousness and no regard for anyone outside their oversized McMansions.

    August 28, 2013 04:25 am at 4:25 am |
  19. revolting peasant

    I predict that the Tea Party will lose its momentum when the black guy is out of the white house. Hopefully before then it can succeed in undermining the traditional GOP power base and get the GOP back to behaving more like a loose body of elected officials with common values than the power-base of a handful of lobbyists.

    August 28, 2013 05:44 am at 5:44 am |

    Those Koch Brother's dollars at work hunting down their GOBP bedmates . Their lies about defunding ACA,government shutdown and defaulting on the debt will continue to come home to roost. Perfect timing too.

    August 28, 2013 07:22 am at 7:22 am |
  21. George

    The posting on this issue smells of idiots. It is the Republicans fault that barry passed a 1.8 trillion dollar healthcare fix that not even the officals that passed it want. England and any country with an actual leader are running from the model that barry is ramming down our throats. Question, name one country that socialized medicine works? None, England says it does not work, Soviet Union had awful healtcare, Germany finds it is too costly, but barry knows.

    August 28, 2013 07:46 am at 7:46 am |
  22. AttyFAM

    It would appear that the Tea Party is willing to destroy the United States of America , if necessary, to achieve its goals. I would call that treason.

    August 28, 2013 08:18 am at 8:18 am |
  23. Al-NY,NY

    the triple-dog-dare is going out the GOP....go ahead and try it and see what happens. YOU will get the vast majority of the blame but hey.....your party is pure and devoid of thought. The mindless drones walk around with blank stares as they are told what to do by the fanatics

    August 28, 2013 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
  24. Dennis

    The reason they don't have an alternative is because Romneycare WAS their plan... Obama took the Republican plan and now they have nothing because everything they wanted to do has been done, and they have labeled it bad!

    August 28, 2013 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  25. BP

    Republicans must come to the realization that The Tea Party will ultimately bring utter destruction to the party. A healthy Republican Party is something that can bring on healthy debates and contribute to moving the nation forward. The Tea Party, as its name and "Don't Tread on Me," slogan imply, seem to seek revolution and if allowed to continue to fester, will bring our nation to its knees.

    August 28, 2013 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
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