The tea party vs. establishment
September 10th, 2013
04:12 PM ET
12 months ago

The tea party vs. establishment

Washington (CNN) – A growing chorus of high-profile tea party leaders is threatening Republican lawmakers: Defund Obamacare or get a primary challenge.

Three conservative Republican senators, a handful of House members and even more tea party activists took to a stage on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol Building Tuesday afternoon to protest the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. But their call to action–and their anger–was directed more at the Republican leadership in the House than at President Obama.

One sign in the crowd read: "Hey, GOP. The end is near for Obamacare or you. Your choice."

The law was enacted in March of 2010, and one of its largest pieces – insurance exchanges – are set to open to the public on Oct. 1. Some Republicans, though, are still looking for ways to stop the law from taking effect, and they're pressing their leadership to defund the law by not passing the continuing resolution that funds the government.

More moderate Republicans, particularly in the Senate, say that strategy is foolish, but the tea party complains that not trying is spineless.

Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah said, "If you fund this law, you are for it."

His Kentucky colleague Rand Paul added, "We need some backbone up here; we need some help." He went on, "We don't need to be invertebrate caucus, we need to be the caucus with a spine."

And the last senator on the stage – Ted Cruz of Texas – said, "Some Republicans are considering procedural tricks." He asked the crowd, "Is an empty symbolic vote enough?" and, "Are tricks and games acceptable?"

House Republican leaders Tuesday introduced to the GOP rank and file legislation that would fund the government through mid-December. In an attempt to give conservative members cover and to secure votes, Republican leaders are also drafting a proposal that would be voted on alongside the funding bill. The separate measure would contain language preventing the administration from using any federal funds to implement the new health care law. A House vote on both these measures could come as early as Thursday.

A senior House GOP aide admitted to CNN Monday night that the language on defunding Obamacare would be non-binding.

The list of tea party leaders routinely criticized House Speaker John Boehner and House Republican Leader Eric Cantor for passing responsibility to the Senate.

Every time each House leader's name was mentioned, the crowd of at least 1,000 jeered.

And Brent Bozell of the conservative group, ForAmerica, promised Republican legislators: "To those rank and file members playing this three card Monte game, I can say only one thing: Get ready for some primaries."

– CNN’s Paul Steinhauser and Deirdre Walsh contributed to this report.


Filed under: Health care
soundoff (40 Responses)
  1. The Real Tom Paine

    By all means, primary every GOP member of the House and Senate: it will make the task of beating them all that much easier. I would have thought after the Sharon Angle-type fiascos of 2010, the GOP would have gotten the message, but I guess tinfoil hats keep reality from intruding until its too late.

    September 10, 2013 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  2. Obama 332 . . . Romney 206 (Please repeat this in your postings heck sign off with it)

    If the GOP had respected the NATIONS NEED for comprehensive Healthcare Reform and had ACTED on that need, they would be in a far better position. Instead, they IGNORED the NEED of the people and a GROUNDSWELL of activity led to a plan [consisting significantly of Republican supported concepts] to be passed by a DEMOCRATIC President.

    GOP {Cruz? Lee? Paul} what did you offer as an alternative BEFORE OBAMACARE? {The answer is NOTHING}. What did you offer between Bill & Hillaryi's failed attept to address the problem and OBAMACARE? The answer is NOTHING. What do you offer as an alternative / improvement to OBAMACARE? The answer is NOTHING.

    You are not offering the American people anything. That is not leading. That is not representing the people. That is not serving constiuents. Instead, the GOP is practicing Ostrich politics on the topic of Healthcare Reform. It has. for 50 YEARS, stuck it's head in the sand and wants to pretend we don't have a problem. American citizens know better.

    September 10, 2013 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  3. jinx9to88

    So the Tea Party is worthless. Is this news CNN?

    September 10, 2013 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  4. jinx9to88

    These Tea Party crazies are safe in their crazy people district this is why the can act stupid. If these nuts lived in the "real" district no way they can act this crazy and stay elected.

    September 10, 2013 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  5. Randy, San Francisco

    No tears for the Republican Party. You reap what you sowed. The Tea Party will put the final nail on the coffin of the Republican national brand. The rebranding efforts of the Republican Party is officially dead and buried.

    September 10, 2013 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  6. Bill

    These two clowns belong on the pages of a comic book, not in the US Senate. Thankfully, they will both be one-termers in the Senate.

    September 10, 2013 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  7. Tampa Tim

    We really need to defund congress. And the world continues to laugh at right wingnuts.

    September 10, 2013 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  8. Tampa Tim

    These are the questions that Americans are asking: Are Bachmann, Gomert, and King back from their comedy tour in Egypt? When did the right wingnuts destroy their brain cells? How much did Cruz get for selling his soul to the Kochs?

    September 10, 2013 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  9. O'drama ya Mama

    These Teabags are domestic terrorists

    September 10, 2013 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  10. jinx9to88

    We are suppose to be the richest nation in the world, and several millions of people did not have healthcare. My question to the GOP, what is your alternative to Obamacare? You guys were for universal healthcare for everyone in the 1990's. Did the deep pocket campaign money you were getting from the insurance giants sway your mind a little?

    September 10, 2013 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  11. Sniffit

    "The tea party vs. establishment"

    Angry monkey flinging poop at everything within range v. monkey not yet angry and/or pooping.

    FIFY.

    September 10, 2013 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  12. Hector Slagg

    Huh?,
    So what is the Establishment? More Federal Debt, more Nanny State more Welfare, more Food Stamps, more Bad Morguages, etc? So what business will dump their Health Care Next? There is an old saying, IF IT AIN'T BROKE, DON'T FIX IT. You want to cut your own throat, have at it.The 1930's are just over the Horizion.

    September 10, 2013 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  13. A True Conservative

    Most of the commenters here have no clue what the tea party is all about and know noting about those of us who support the cause......but keeping the insults going. That clearly demonstrates your ignorance and lack of class.

    September 10, 2013 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  14. rs

    I wonder if the GOP STILL thinks it was a great idea to create their el-fako, astroturf, "groundroots" TEA Party? They bether either shut those wackos down, or watch their party disappear for about 20 years.
    Inciting their insane fringe has only stained the entire GOP and made them look like the fools they are.

    September 10, 2013 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  15. Anonymous

    Great picture of the epitome of arrogance. Those two look like they are watching the crowd bow down to them.
    hands on hips, sunglasses, silly smirks. And they want to be President? Never in a million years.

    September 10, 2013 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  16. Tampa Tim

    Check out the bagger ignorance on the sign, "Obamacare is immoral." That pretty much sums up the bagger intellect.

    September 10, 2013 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  17. sonny chapman

    Hey Tea Partiers: GROW UP. You don't get everything you demand in life. We're a Nation of over 300 Million folks. Everybody has to give a little to get along.

    September 10, 2013 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  18. Tampa Tim

    When you threaten to shut down the government because you don't like the president, you just might be be a domestic terrorist.

    September 10, 2013 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  19. kayla

    all they are doing is farting and burping, nothing else

    September 10, 2013 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  20. Wilson

    @A True Conservative

    Most of the commenters here have no clue what the tea party is all about and know noting about those of us who support the cause......but keeping the insults going. That clearly demonstrates your ignorance and lack of class.
    ----
    Most of the "usual suspects" on here are the proof that liberalism is a disease or at least a mental deficiency.
    $

    September 10, 2013 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  21. Sniffit

    "Most of the commenters here have no clue what the tea party is all about and know noting about those of us who support the cause......but keeping the insults going. "

    Whatever helps you sleep at night. It must be nice to be able to convince yourself that people don't like the Teatrolls "because they don't know us." Perhaps you missed the MSM crawling up the Teatrolls bungholes for 5 years and telling us every single little thing they do and scream for half a decade such that the only way someone could possibly not know what the Teatrolls are and what they are REALLY about is (a) they've been in a coma (b) they were born yesterday or (c) they're a Teatroll themselves.

    September 10, 2013 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  22. Bill

    @Hector Slagg

    I suppose you were asleep when we were losing 750,000 jobs a month starting in 2007 (Bush was president, remember), watched the stock market lose half its value and the resultant mayhem from unregulated, mortgage lending (also promoted by GOP'ers) that crushed the housing market with hundreds of thousands of foreclosures. So your solution is no government intervention? You need to smell what you are shoveling.

    September 10, 2013 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  23. Sniffit

    "Hey Tea Partiers: GROW UP. You don't get everything you demand in life. We're a Nation of over 300 Million folks. Everybody has to give a little to get along."

    No no...maybe you don't understand. In Teatrollistan, the following definitions apply:

    "Freedom" = "I get to have everything I want."

    "Liberty" = "Everyone else has to leave me alone until I want something from them, in which case, please refer back to the definition of freedom."

    September 10, 2013 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  24. The Real Tom Paine

    -Hector Slagg

    Huh?,
    So what is the Establishment? More Federal Debt, more Nanny State more Welfare, more Food Stamps, more Bad Morguages, etc? So what business will dump their Health Care Next? There is an old saying, IF IT AIN'T BROKE, DON'T FIX IT. You want to cut your own throat, have at it.The 1930's are just over the Horizion.
    ***********
    So, access to health care and health insurance was perfect? What a worthless a$$clown you are if you believe that. Keep it up with the revisionist history, Ray E ( Georgia). By the way, what is a Morguage? Is it French?

    September 10, 2013 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  25. Tampa Tim

    True conservatives died off in 1984.

    September 10, 2013 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
1 2