GOP Leaders Won’t Use Budget Battle to Defund ObamaCare

By:  Michael Tennant
08/26/2013
       
GOP Leaders Won’t Use Budget Battle to Defund ObamaCare

Despite pressure from conservatives — including over a third of the House Republican caucus — Republican congressional leaders have indicated that they have no intention of using upcoming budget negotiations to defund ObamaCare.

“There is little enthusiasm among Republican leaders on Capitol Hill for the campaign, led most publicly by Senator Ted Cruz [R-Texas], to defund parts of Obamacare in the continuing resolution [CR] that would fund the government beginning October 1,” reported the Weekly Standard.

October 1, coincidentally, is the day open enrollment in ObamaCare’s insurance exchanges is set to commence. The exchanges are the means by which Americans without employer-sponsored health insurance are supposed to meet the individual mandate’s requirements.

“Our intent is to move quickly on a short-term continuing resolution that keeps the government running and maintains current sequester spending levels,” House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio, shown) reportedly told his fellow House Republicans during an August 22 conference call.

Boehner did not specifically address the matter of defunding ObamaCare via the CR, but a source who was on the call told National Review, “He didn’t rule it out, but indicated to members that defund through CR is not the best strategy.”

Republican leaders fear that a standoff with the White House over ObamaCare would lead to a shutdown of the federal government for which Republicans would be blamed. That is what happened the last time the government shut down, in the mid-1990s, helping to propel President Bill Clinton to reelection.

The GOP rank and file, on the other hand, consider ObamaCare so dangerous that many are willing to take that risk. Eighty of 233 House Republicans have signed a letter circulated by Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) urging Boehner “to affirmatively de-fund the implementation of and enforcement of Obamacare in any relevant appropriations bill,” including “any continuing appropriations bill.” And despite pressure from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), 14 GOP senators have affixed their John Hancocks to a letter by Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) stating that they “will not support any continuing resolution or appropriations legislation that funds further implementation or enforcement of Obamacare.”

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Photo of Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio): AP Images

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