Republicans squabble over who has lead role in fight to stop ObamaCare

Tensions are rising between House and Senate Republicans over which conference will lead the fight to defund ObamaCare.

Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzO’Rourke not ruling out being vice presidential candidate CNN ripped for hiring former Republican operative as political editor: 'WTF?!?!' The Hill's Morning Report - Can Bernie recapture 2016 magic? MORE (R-Texas) and a spokesman for Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerCrowley, Shuster moving to K Street On unilateral executive action, Mitch McConnell was right — in 2014 Bill Clinton jokes no one would skip Dingell's funeral: 'Only time' we could get the last word MORE (R-Ohio) each said Wednesday that the task is for Republicans in the other chamber as pressure rises to fund the government.

Cruz's statement drew immediate criticism from rank-and-file House Republicans who accused the likely presidential hopeful of abandoning the fight he had encouraged for months. 

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"So far [Senate Republicans] are good at getting Facebook likes, and townhalls, not much else. Do something …" tweeted Rep. Tim GriffinJohn (Tim) Timothy GriffinFlynn discloses lobbying that may have helped Turkey Tea Party class reassesses record Huckabee's daughter to run '16 campaign MORE (R-Ark.).

The rift highlights the desire by GOP lawmakers to avoid blame for any shutdown that occurs because of demands to kill ObamaCare.

Cruz and his allies — Sens. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump escalates fight with NY Times The Hill's Morning Report - Can Bernie recapture 2016 magic? Venezuela puts spotlight on Rubio MORE (R-Fla.) and Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump escalates fight with NY Times The 10 GOP senators who may break with Trump on emergency Congress closer to forcing Trump’s hand on Saudi support MORE (R-Utah) — campaigned throughout the month of August for aggressive tactics against ObamaCare in the fight to fund the government.

House GOP leaders appeared unwilling to follow this strategy until Wednesday, when they announced they would strip out money for the healthcare law in a stopgap continuing resolution (CR).

The plan would hand the fight to conservative senators, who would presumably work to gather votes against funding ObamaCare or perhaps filibuster a Democratic spending bill.

Cruz, Rubio and Lee praised the House GOP's strategy for its boldness, but in a statement, Cruz waved off expectations that he prevail in the Senate fight.

"[Senate Majority Leader] Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidSanders hires veteran progressive operative to manage 2020 bid Constitutional conservatives need to oppose the national emergency Klobuchar: 'I don't remember' conversation with Reid over alleged staff mistreatment MORE will no doubt try to strip the defund language from the continuing resolution, and right now he likely has the votes to do so," Cruz said.

"At that point, House Republicans must stand firm, hold their ground, and continue to listen to the American people."

BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerCrowley, Shuster moving to K Street On unilateral executive action, Mitch McConnell was right — in 2014 Bill Clinton jokes no one would skip Dingell's funeral: 'Only time' we could get the last word MORE spokesman Michael Steel responded in a statement insisting that Senate Republicans own the battle. "We trust Republicans in the Senate will put up a fight worthy of the challenge that ObamaCare poses," Steel said.

Senate Democrats and President Obama are unified in their opposition to any spending bill that undercuts healthcare reform.

Republicans are hoping that, in the face of a shutdown on Oct. 1, Obama blinks and allows the GOP to defund his signature law. 

As of Wednesday evening, criticism from House Republicans against Cruz was building on Twitter. In one posting, Rep. Sean DuffySean Patrick DuffyOn The Money: Shutdown Day 27 | Trump fires back at Pelosi by canceling her foreign travel | Dems blast 'petty' move | Trump also cancels delegation to Davos | House votes to disapprove of Trump lifting Russia sanction Rare bipartisanship in lame duck Congress battling the ‘WTO’ of insurance regulation House votes to remove protections for gray wolves MORE (R-Wis.) accused Cruz and Lee of "refusing to fight."

"House agrees to send CR to Senate that defunds ObamaCare. Sen. Ted Cruz and Sen. Mike Lee … wave white flag and surrender," Duffy tweeted.