Members of Congress are back in their districts this month where they’ll be hearing from constituents about various issues that face the country and their local communities. But in case you haven’t heard, there is a pretty big fight brewing between congressional Republicans over whether or not to fund ObamaCare.
With the current fiscal year expiring at the end of September, there is going to be an extraordinary amount of pressure in Congress to pass a Continuing Resolution to keep the government running. But there is a wrinkle as many conservative members, empowered by the delay of ObamaCare’s employer mandate, are pushing leadership to defund the law.
Democrats in both chambers of Congress and the media are quick to point out that defunding ObamaCare will embroil Republicans in a budget showdown with the White House, the likely result of which would be a government shutdown.
But conservative members of Congress are quick to say that don’t want to shutdown the federal government. They note that they want to pass appropriations measures or a Continuing Resolution to keep the government running, they just don’t want to fund a law that Americans consistantly reject and want repealed.
Rep. Tom Graves (R-GA), who has introduced legislation to defund ObamaCare, recently told United Liberty that this effort is about getting rid of a law that harms Americans, not shutting down the government.
“Of course, the Democrats will say it’s all about a government shutdown,” said Graves. “We want to get rid of ObamaCare and replace it with something that empowers families and individuals or, actually, what the President said years ago, he said if you like your insurance you can keep it. We sort of would like to see that happen, and that’s not happening right now.”
Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-OK) says the push to defund ObamaCare is a matter of fairness for all Americans, not just those the White House wants to protect, and he puts the prospect of a government shutdown solely in the hands of President Obama.
“President Obama’s delay of the ‘employer mandate’ is a tacit admission that it is not working,” wrote Bridenstine. “Now Mr. Obama is threatening to shut down the government rather than extend a similar break to hard working individuals. He claims to be helping the poor and middle class. He is instead advantaging his big business cronies and harming individuals. This is not fair.”
“It will be his choice if the government is shut down,” he added.
Republican leaders in both chambers and pro-GOP pundits, including Karl Rove, are very worried that this situation could hurt the party’s chances to take the Senate next year and put at risk their control of the House. Some rank-and-file Republicans have been open in their contempt of the idea.
Matt Kibbe, president and CEO of FreedomWorks, contests the assertion from establishment Republicans that fighting ObamaCare is dangerous for the GOP, pointing to recent polling on the law.
“By throwing in the towel before the debate, they are making the calculation that fighting ObamaCare is bad politics,” wrote Kibbe at FoxNews.com. “That’s surprising if you look at public opinion.”
“On July 24 a CBS News/New York Times poll showed 54 percent of Americans oppose ObamaCare, despite four full years of Democratic salesmanship,” noted Kibbe. “The Morning Consult July tracking poll finds that 77% of independents, 78% of 18-29 year olds, 75% of women, 73% of blacks, and 80% of Hispanics think the individual mandate should be repealed or delayed. So do 65% of Democrats.”
Much like the amendment offered by Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) to limit NSA surveillance, the defund ObamaCare movement in Congress is highlighting fissures in the Republican Party that some would rather ignore.
The problem for many Republicans who don’t get behind the push is that it could come back to haunt them through grassroots-backed primary challengers.