Health reform implementation

Tea Party rejects GOP’s latest strategy for defunding ObamaCare

House GOP leadership’s plan to appease conservatives on ObamaCare met with strong opposition from the Tea Party Tuesday, signaling a tough fight ahead as leaders work to pass a government funding bill this week. 

Powerful conservative groups FreedomWorks, Heritage Action and the Club for Growth announced that they will punish members in future elections if they support House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s (R-Va.) gambit, which places the onus for defunding ObamaCare on the Democratically controlled Senate.

The Tea Party movement also held a rally on Capitol Hill Tuesday where allied lawmakers and activists rejected Cantor’s strategy as a “trick” intended to deceive grassroots conservatives while preserving money for the healthcare law. 

{mosads}Holding signs reading “Impeach Obama,” several thousand people booed and jeered at talk of leadership’s maneuver, which would foist a defunding vote on the Senate but allow the government to remain open even if the upper chamber chooses to protect ObamaCare’s budget.

The strategy is unlikely to deal a blow to the healthcare law, and remarks from Tea Party allies suggest that Cantor and his team may not amass enough support from their own conference to set the plan in motion Thursday, the day a vote had been expected.

“Every Republican says they want to stop ObamaCare, but later, on Thursday, they will attempt to fund ObamaCare and convince you that’s not the case,” said Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.) from the podium.

Leadership’s plan responds to several months of pressure from the right. Many conservatives have rallied behind a plan that would use the need to fund the government as leverage to defund ObamaCare before the law’s insurance exchanges open on Oct. 1.  

Lawmakers have until the end of the month to pass a continuing resolution that is acceptable to President Obama or the government will shut down on Sept. 30. 

The conservative grassroots hope to persuade lawmakers in the House and Senate to pass complete funding bills that exclude money for ObamaCare. Once they reached Obama’s desk, supporters reasoned, the bills would force the president to face a shutdown or kill his signature law by approving the measures.

This approach gained support from more than 80 Republicans in the House but failed to make serious headway in the Senate.

At Tuesday’s rally, Tea Party lawmakers like Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) suggested that the strategy could still be viable if grassroots conservatives increased pressure on wavering Republicans.

ForAmerica Chairman Brent Bozell expressed outrage at GOP leadership, calling Cantor’s plan a “gimmick.”

“They know it’s a gimmick!” he shouted to the crowd. “They should be ashamed of themselves. I’ve had it, being slapped in the face by these people who are taking you for granted!”

Tags Eric Cantor Ted Cruz

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