Shutdown showdown over ObamaCare gains steam from right

A who's who of conservative leaders is pushing the House to pass a government funding bill without money for ObamaCare, a move they acknowledge could cause a government shutdown.

The conservatives, including Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform and RedState Editor-in-Chief Erick Erickson, told BoehnerJohn BoehnerLobbying World 'Ready for Michelle' PACs urge 2020 run News Flash: Trump was never going to lock Clinton up MORE and House Majority Leader Eric CantorEric CantorChamber of Commerce overhauls lobbying operation Laura Ingraham under consideration for White House press secretary VA Dems jockey for Kaine's seat MORE (R-Va.) to seize what they called the "best and last chance" to stop ObamaCare before its major provisions take effect.

Passing a government funding bill without money for ObamaCare "will give the president and Senate Democrats a choice: Continue funding the government, or shut down the government on behalf of an unpopular law," the leaders wrote.

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Their letter, circulated late Monday by Heritage Action, will likely boost an effort by Sen. Mike LeeMike LeeWill Trump back women’s museum? Overnight Cybersecurity: Lawmakers pushing for vote to delay warrant rule changes Coons to call for voice vote to halt changes to hacking rule MORE (R-Utah) and Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) to rally congressional Republicans behind a threat to shut down the government unless the healthcare law receives no funding.

The campaign has received strong pushback from a growing list of establishment Republicans who say the strategy will prove fatal to the GOP if it ultimately stops the government from functioning.

ATR said Tuesday that it does not back the threat of a government shutdown, but signed the Heritage letter to push the House toward a continuing resolution that defunds ObamaCare.

The group wants a defunding vote in the House as a marker, said an ATR official.

Sens. John McCainJohn McCainA Cabinet position for Petraeus; disciplinary actions for Broadwell after affair Meet Trump’s ‘mad dog’ for the Pentagon Wrestling mogul McMahon could slam her way into Trump administration MORE (R-Ariz.), Tom CoburnTom CoburnWill Trump back women’s museum? Don't roll back ban on earmarks Ryan calls out GOP in anti-poverty fight MORE (R-Okla.), Roy BluntRoy BluntKey Republicans ask Trump to keep on NIH director Overnight Defense: Trump reportedly picking Mattis for Defense chief Dem senator: Petraeus would have ‘real challenge’ on confirmation MORE (R-Mo.), Richard BurrRichard BurrDems pledge to fight Sessions nomination Battle for the Senate: Top of ticket dominates Shakeup on Senate Intel: Warner becomes top Dem MORE (R-N.C.) and Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), as well as Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) and conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer have all voiced opposition to the threat, saying President Obama will never agree to kill his signature healthcare law and that the public will blame Republicans if the government shuts down.

More than 50 leaders signed the Heritage letter, including Heritage Action CEO Michael Needham, Club for Growth President Chris Chocola, FreedomWorks President Matt Kibbe, American Conservative Union Chairman Al Cardenas, ForAmerica Chairman Brent Bozell, Tea Party Patriots co-founder Jenny Beth Martin, National Taxpayers Union President Duane Parde and Eagle Forum founder Phyllis Schlafly.

—This post was updated at 8:22 p.m. with ATR's clarification.