Right dismayed over Boehner strategy on ObamaCare funding

Conservative groups on Friday said they were dismayed by Speaker John BoehnerJohn BoehnerBoehner on Trump tweets: He gets 'into a pissing match with a skunk' every day Boehner predicts GOP will 'never' repeal, replace ObamaCare Sudan sanctions spur intense lobbying MORE’s (R-Ohio) strategy for funding the government, which does not emphasize defunding ObamaCare.

“It's certainly a missed opportunity,” said Dan Holler, spokesman for Heritage Action, the political arm of the Heritage Foundation.

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BoehnerJohn BoehnerBoehner on Trump tweets: He gets 'into a pissing match with a skunk' every day Boehner predicts GOP will 'never' repeal, replace ObamaCare Sudan sanctions spur intense lobbying MORE outlined his strategy for the funding fight in a Thursday conference call with Republican lawmakers.

He said that he wanted to advance a short-term continuing resolution that would keep sequester cuts intact, setting the stage for a broader fiscal fight over raising the debt limit later in the fall.

Some conservatives are adamant that Republicans should refuse to approve any spending package that includes funds for the healthcare reform law. They argued that pushing a short-term spending bill at sequester levels amounts to refighting a battle Republicans already won when the sequester was first established.

“Keeping current law does not sound like progress on stopping ObamaCare,” said Barney Keller, spokesman for the Club for Growth.

Holler argued that Boehner's approach is "obviously an effort to tamp down enthusiasm over the defund push."

While GOP leaders have not ruled out tackling ObamaCare as part of a funding bill, Holler was skeptical a short-term continuing resolution (CR) to keep the government funded would be the right battleground.

“They're not taking that off the table yet, at least explicitly, but everyone understands that a 2-month CR isn't designed to have a fight over ObamaCare,” he said.

“Conservative members are going to feel like they got duped,” he added. “At some point they're going to say, ‘When can we have a fight over this stuff? When can we have a chance to push forward conservative policies?’”

Eighty House Republicans sent a letter to GOP leaders Thursday, announcing their support for defunding ObamaCare as part of any government spending package. The letter does not explicitly say that members would refuse to back a spending plan that includes healthcare reform dollars.

Congress needs to approve a spending package before Oct. 1 to avoid a government shutdown. And in late October or early November, lawmakers will need to reach an agreement on raising the nation's $16.7 trillion debt limit in order to allow the government to continue meeting all its obligations.