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.
Randy, San Francisco
No tears for the Republican Party.
No tears from me. After what has played itself as journalist reporting in the media over these past few years, I have no tears for journalists either.
@A True Conservative:
"Most commenters here have no clue what the Tea Party is all about and know nothing about those of us who
support the cause"...........
I certainly don't since all I ever see are hateful signs, and hateful words. Maybe it started with a good idea,
but something happened, and the good idea disappeared.
There doesn't seem to be a reasonable "leader" in your group. All bluster, threats, and cut everything
but my salary types.
So, please tell me, what are you "all about"?
Teddy Cruze and Randy Paul ,
Aqua Buddha Buddies .
Tampa Tim likes the way this country is going. 17 trillion in debt, NSA spying on use, no answers to 4 dead in Bengasi, IRS threating people, EPA trying to shut down coal plants just before winter, DOJ suing La. over school vouchers for poor kids, post ponying Keystone pipeline, Obama has so many things he has yet to finish it had to keep track of them. Answer me this what has he done for the Doctor who help us get Ben Lauden.
Young Guns II. Bwhahahahaha.
Nothing but threats from these thugs. Republican motto: If you can't beat 'em – cheat 'em. And if they don't do what you say, threaten them. What a bunch of creeps!
orrball – You speak of the $17 trillion in debt. Obama was given $12 trillion of it and the unfunded wars did not end when Obama was sworn in. The loss of revenue from the republican tax cuts for the wealthy did not end when Obama took over. The unfunded drug programs did not end when Obama was elected. We were losing 750,000 jobs each month when Obama took over, and that has been erased. Bin Laden is dead, Ghaddafy is dead, Somali pirates are dead, and our auto industry is alive. The stock market is over 15,000 from 6800 when Obama took over. We are out of an unnecessary war. . . Wait, you must have watched Fox, because you had no clue.
The teaparty losers that have no healthcare are asking the GOP to defund the healthcare bill??????MORONS
Tea Party: "Hey, GOP. Your brand of stupid is not stupid enough for us. Do more stupid things or else."
beavis and butt head
Joke of the day, "Teabaggers."
A crowd of 1000?????? More like a few hundred . The GOP teaparty is a JOKE with NO support. Kick these losers out of office in 2014 midterms, they are to incompetent to govern !!!!!!!
Too funny, the grandstanding racist turkey from KY I have nothing to say but I sound a bit more intelligent than the screeching mutant from AK and the teatroll Canadian little rafael who still thinks he can run for president together polluting the air and ears of those who listen to them.
@ anonymous, the Koch brothers "grassroots" tea crazies are against everything most of them are probably collecting from the Feds. Sick security, Medicare, Medicaid while traveling in those gas guzzling RVs on fed highways and assembling in fed land. When your leaders are limberger, insanity, the flake from MN ( see what she is now saying about 2016. She is bat @hit crazy) stroke on air rove, and the tea tard crazies and ther AK queen of nothing you don't have a leg to stand on.
"we need to be the caucus with a spine"
God knows you sure as hell aren't the party with the brains.
Tampa Tim likes the way this country is going. 17 trillion in debt, NSA spying on use, no answers to 4 dead in Bengasi, IRS threating people, EPA trying to shut down coal plants just before ......
Hey genius, did you just wake up from a deep slumber? Do you not remember when Bush kept the cost of the TWO WARs off the books and when giving us the tax cuts that benefited the very wealthiest americans said " this war would pay for itself" Oh that's right...there is some mental malfunction fo you GOP/Tea Trolls types remembering facts. If President Obama choose to continue Lil Dubya's practice of keeping the cost of the wars off the books, he would be able to avoid the criticism you Con-serva-trolls keep ranting about....those are facts my friend, but of course a foreign concept for you folks