A brewing Republican versus Republican fight over whether to use a government funding measure to choke off Obamacare is splitting the party ahead of this fall’s budget battles.
A growing number of Republicans are rejecting calls from leading conservatives, including Sens. Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and Rand Paul, to defund the president’s health care law in the resolution to keep the government running past Sept. 30. The rift exposes an emerging divide over how the GOP can best achieve its No. 1 goal — to repeal Obamacare — while highlighting the spreading fears that Republicans would lose a public relations war if the dispute leads to a government shutdown in the fall.
The debate is happening behind closed doors and over Senate lunches, as well as during a frank meeting Wednesday with House leaders in Speaker John Boehner’s suite where fresh concerns were aired about the party’s strategy. On Thursday, the dispute began to spill into public view, most notably when three Senate Republicans — including Minority Whip John Cornyn — withdrew their signatures from a conservative letter demanding defunding Obamacare as a condition for supporting the government funding measure.
Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) called the push to defund the law through the continuing resolution the “dumbest idea” he had ever heard. Read more from this story HERE.
By Jake Sherman and John Bresnahan
More than 60 Republicans have signed a letter urging Speaker John Boehner to defund Obamacare when Congress funds the government in September.
The letter, being circulated by the office of freshman Rep. Mark Meadows, doesn’t explicitly say that supporters will vote against a government funding bill if it does not strip funding for Obamacare. But it says that signers of the letter are “urging [Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.)] to defund the implementation and enforcement of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in any relevant appropriations bill brought to the House floor in the 113th Congress, including any continuing appropriations bill.”
“In light of the Administration’s recent delay of the employer mandate and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) scandal, it is imperative, now more than ever, that Congress do everything in its power to halt the implementation of the healthcare law,” Meadows writes. “It is entirely unacceptable that the IRS, a government agency that actively discriminates against Americans, is in charge of implementing a law that Americans do not want.” Read more from this story HERE.