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. blue079

    Big surprise the selfish Tea Partiers, who make up what, 5% of this country, the most conservative of the conservatives, want the ENTIRE COUNTRY SHUT DOWN so they don't have to pay an extra $20 a year.

    This looks more like my toddler's temper tantrums than a professional setting.

    August 27, 2013 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  2. Rowing Stone

    If the GOP would concentrate on issues not already decided by the Supreme Court (national health care and abortion), they would not come off as the party of the ignorant and out of touch with reality.

    August 27, 2013 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  3. A traveler

    Cannibalism in the GOP. I guess when you're as down as the party seems you need to eat more than just your words.

    August 27, 2013 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  4. usualone

    These people truly are un-American and care little, if at all, for fellow citizens. How they can sleep at night is amazing. They redefine the words "ugly American."

    August 27, 2013 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  5. Wake up People!

    Oh Lynda, it had nothing to do with you. They have been zapping me for months now. I expect more to be zapped than posted.

    Rudy, you caught that "boy" too I see. That was either Ancient Texan's thing or Ray E. Georgia. It's funny how THEY try and slip in their bigotry.

    August 27, 2013 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  6. Marie MD

    @Lynda/Minnesota,in case CNN didn't post my comment or you missed it yesterday. You have inspired me, with one of your personal posts, to give up one vacation day on election day to make sure anyone who wants to vote and can't drive or make it on their own can vote.
    As far as shutting down government do the teatrolls understand that their social security check won't be in the mail? They better not get sick either because Medicare won't be u ns running either. Government workers are instrumental for these two "entitlements" we have paid for since our first paycheck.

    August 27, 2013 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  7. dave

    more slave tax levied on the working man…

    August 27, 2013 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  8. California Gary

    McConnell will fold like a cheap tent when the Tea Party puts the squeeze on him. He has always had that "deer in the headlights" look.....but now it is for real. I'm wondering how many times a day that man soils his britches........

    August 27, 2013 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  9. Kenman

    Too bad the Democrats don't have the character to rid their party of the old establishment guard that serves no one but themselves and THEIR agendas!

    August 27, 2013 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  10. edog

    Tea Party Thomas

    America is not going to become the SOCIALIST STATES OF AMERICA. Vote for your grandchildren future vote
    for a return to conservative values.

    Hey Tea Party Thomas!! What if my grandchild has a pre existing condition... and can't get healthcare under your conservative values.

    August 27, 2013 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  11. OrmondGeorge

    Republican Piranhas have, of NECESSITY, turned cannibal. They can't seem to get a decent bite on any Democrat or Democratic policy, wo they're chewing on each other.

    Hillary 2016/2020

    They (Republicans) make it look easy

    August 27, 2013 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  12. Charlie

    A bunch of selfish Tea Party crazies

    August 27, 2013 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  13. Rudy NYC


    All I know is Obamacare and the ACA is going to prevent me from making student loan payments since the Feds are raping my pocket for healthcare costs.
    Nothing is preventing you from making student loan payments but lack of work. Blame the governer of your home state for not participating in the expansion of Medicare that would have paid for your health care in part, or in full.

    August 27, 2013 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  14. Randy W

    Perhaps the GOTea can propose some legislation to modify something in the act that they are opposed to. After all, they have been saying for a couple of years that they have a better plan. Has anyone heard it? Put up or shut up!!

    August 27, 2013 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  15. Charlie

    This is the party of Lincoln?

    August 27, 2013 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  16. Wake up People!

    I second that Marie. She has inspired me also. I have taken people to vote over the years but never took a day off to do it. This year and from now on I will!!

    August 27, 2013 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  17. Steven Colo

    some leadership would be nice about now. You know, based on what's good for the country and all that.

    August 27, 2013 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  18. Floyd

    Talk about "Tyranny of the Minority"... They control only the House (not the Senate or the White House) and if you tally all the votes for D and R candidtates in the 2012 election, Democrats recieved something along the lines of 52% of the votes yet control less than 50% of the house. So these people are the minority, and they are threatening to shut down the government if they don't get their way (ignoring the fact that there is practically no way for them to get their way)? What planet are they from?

    August 27, 2013 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  19. Keith

    I agree with the tea party. The majority of Americans do not want Obama Care. You have tl go with what the majority of Americans want. It is only fair.

    August 27, 2013 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  20. Pat Carr

    Why don't these worthless "tea party" people shut down the government if we go to war against syria?

    August 27, 2013 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  21. Lynda/Minnesota

    Marie MD
    @Lynda/Minnesota,in case CNN didn't post my comment or you missed it yesterday. You have inspired me, with one of your personal posts, to give up one vacation day on election day to make sure anyone who wants to vote and can't drive or make it on their own can vote.

    Maria, I feel so inadequate responding to your (and yes my response Wake Up) comment on my post. Thank you for your kind words. And I want to especially thank you for taking time out to remember those who can no longer fend for themselves physically but are so willing to love this great country of ours enough to actually get out and vote. My Grandmother lived to be 97 years old. She was (and will always be) my inspiration. These are people who deserve - right along with all of us - the right to vote. To try and take that vote from them disgusts me to my inner core.

    Together we can help them. God bless you.

    August 27, 2013 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  22. craigorie

    I'm sure that the Republicans are real sorry that they let the Tea Party attach themselves like toxic barnacles to the GOP. They are such childish trouble makers.

    August 27, 2013 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  23. Dave in Arizona

    And the Tea Party is, of course, too stupid to realize that defunding Obamacare wouldn't take it off the books. Penalties and tax implications would still be in tax law. The IRS might lack the funding to prosecute improper filings, but people would still be breaking the law if they didn't pay the penalty or acquire health insurance.

    So the only way for anyone to "win" would be to lie on their taxes, which means they're basically telling Americans to break the law because they'll be able to get away with it.

    August 27, 2013 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  24. Doug

    I love it...........the tea partiers are helping make republicans irrelevant in modern society. Nice job........keep up the great work – PLEASE.

    August 27, 2013 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  25. Kim

    You took a poll there Keith?
    Many of us do want it but even with you don't causing the country to default because you don't like it is CRAZY!

    August 27, 2013 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
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