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. Linda

    Defund the GOP.......they are reckless!

    August 27, 2013 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  2. ladyjag

    What no one realizes, the Ins. act has been voted on, and the Supreme court has validated it. Get over it, it is the law of the land. The GOP will shut down the country if only to show they can get their way. I can promise one thing, I am not going to vote for one Republican. If every American in every state voted against them, they would never be in power again.

    August 27, 2013 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  3. Rudy NYC


    people love to bash the tea party...idk why since they are the only people in politics right now DOing anything...
    That's laughable. Name one constructive thing that the Tea Party has actually done. If passing 40 meaningless votes to repeal the ACA is your idea of "DOing anything", then you and your Tea Party really and trully do not understand governing.

    August 27, 2013 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  4. midknight1

    Ahhh the teatards and their white man's rage. Keep it up and GOP will go the way of the whigs. You'd rather continue to fund an already overloaded overburdened bankrupt emergency room care system than put any preventive conprehensive care system in place. Makes perfect sense....

    August 27, 2013 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  5. Sniffit

    "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!"

    Too bad you don't realize that Obama and the Dems won the majority of the peoples' votes...even for the 2012 and we voted for them because we support their policies more than the fat steamy pile of plutocrat nothing the GOP wants to serve the middle class and poor.

    August 27, 2013 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  6. Harry

    Did anyone pay attention to the last paragraph? The majority of Americans don't want it. (. I loved the way the author worded it though....."four out if ten called for the entire law to be repealed (40%), 36% wants to keep it as is or expand it")

    August 27, 2013 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  7. dorsh44

    Lets gut this thing. Tea Party are the only politicians still looking out for the taxpayer. In the long run it will save much more than it cost to get rid of. Then maybe we can actually get to legislation that reigns in the out of control costs instead of diverting it through gov bureaucrats. GUT IT.

    August 27, 2013 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  8. pm Ohio

    People forget that the AHA is a GOP plan. For my whole life, politicians talked about health care reform, but since the AMA, Big Pharma and the Hospitals get them elected, nothing was ever done...although everyone of them said that reform was needed. The individual mandate was supported by a majority of GOP Senators until they found out Obama was going with the GOP/Massachusetts plan...they all did an about face over night. Now, with the obstructionist do nothing Tea Party holding the GOP hostage, they want to threaten a shut down. 1/3 of my premiuns were going to pay for the uninsured before Obamacare. The GOP wants to also conveniently forget that the people who created Obamacare were bi-partisan. Is Obamacare perfect? Obviously not, but it is a start, and the GOP should be looking at sensible cost cutting alternatives to the parts of the program that do not work, not holding thier breath like little children to get thier way. There should be an individual mandate, since everyone gets sick and dies evenetually. Why should I have to pay for thier health care when they do?

    August 27, 2013 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  9. Gene

    All of you "deep thinkers" promoting shutting down the government should think about what you're advocating. The military will not be paid. The postal service will not run. The economy is making a weak recovery now. This would wreck it. Remember, the federal government is both one of this country's largest employers and largest consumers. It's easy to talk about shutting down the government, but to do so would be cutting of your nose to spite your face. Which, come to think of it wouldn't be such a bad idea after all. Never mind–go ahead and shut it down.

    August 27, 2013 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  10. fletcher

    THe GOP is finding out what it is like to date Jodi Arias

    August 27, 2013 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  11. Thomas

    The GOP Tea Party should change there name to the Kamikaze party !

    August 27, 2013 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  12. Denise

    Tea party clowns are becoming more and more irrelevant. Their members have a huge problem with a little thing known as REALITY as in November, 2012 general election results.

    August 27, 2013 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  13. Denise

    Without the Affordable Care Act, tea party members won't be able to pay for their dental work. That one tooth gets in the way alot at their rallies!

    August 27, 2013 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  14. Denise

    They won't be able to afford gastric bypass surgery after eating all of those donuts in honor of their hero, Rush!

    August 27, 2013 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  15. James Napoli

    What is remarkable about the situation is instead of propsoing a new bill to replace the ACA all these folks can say no! They lack ideas and are far from statespersons.

    August 27, 2013 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  16. nintex

    @Colo001 – ". . .Why aren't you complaining about the trillions in debt that Obama dropped on us? Where is your accountability for Pelosi and Red for allowing a bill to pass without allowing Americans to find out what's in it? What about Congress getting a pass on Obamacare? Politicians voted themselves out of Obamacare and you aren't screaming bloody murder?"

    Psssst . . . you left out Benghazi. . . . .

    August 27, 2013 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  17. ART

    Rethuglicans will never stop being the stupid party

    August 27, 2013 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  18. JoePub

    Defund that sham Obamacare now.

    August 27, 2013 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  19. Michael Benjamin

    Say the Republicans were able to get these billed through their respective chambers, does anyone think President Obama would sign it into law? The effort is quintessential Don Quixote.

    August 27, 2013 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  20. Swedge70

    Man, the backfire on this is going to be huge! Do all they can to oust the Republicans that "aren't conservative enough" and then all that's left is a party that at most 15% of the country will be in favor of. I think most normal Republicans would opt to either vote Democrat or not vote at all if those guys are all that's left to run the party.

    August 27, 2013 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  21. Sniffit

    "Politicians voted themselves out of Obamacare and you aren't screaming bloody murder?"

    No they didn't. The ACA requires large employers to provide health insurance for their employees. That is what the government, a large employer, is doing in the case of congresscritters and their staffs. They are, in fact, being treated just like any other employee of a large organization around the country under the ACA, receiving a bargained for benefit incident to their employment and which is req

    August 27, 2013 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  22. Sniffit

    "Politicians voted themselves out of Obamacare and you aren't screaming bloody murder?"

    No they didn't. The ACA requires large employers to provide health insurance for their employees. That is what the government, a large employer, is doing in the case of congresscritters and their staffs. They are, in fact, being treated just like any other employee of a large organization around the country under the ACA, receiving a bargained for benefit incident to their employment and which is required by the ACA.

    August 27, 2013 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  23. Sniffit

    "but to do so would be cutting of your nose to spite your face."

    They don't care. As far as they see it, the country needs to be punished for electing a black man POTUS...and that's exactly what they're trying to do.

    August 27, 2013 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  24. RettasVegas

    The GOP is a dying breed of old, white, men that have set back the growth, and recovery for Ameican's for too long.
    Now that they are turning on each other they can die off even faster.

    August 27, 2013 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  25. roger

    So what's the big deal? When Obama wants the Dems to fall in line he puts pressure on them. I would say it's about the same thing isn't it?

    August 27, 2013 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
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