Republican congressmen report that support for an attempt to defund Obamacare by shutting down the government is one of the biggest issues at their town hall meetings this summer recess and that the idea appears to be gaining strength.
House conservatives say grassroots support is building for their effort to risk a government shutdown to defund ObamaCare.
Conservatives who back the strategy said their spines have been stiffened by support at town-hall meetings.
“I have not heard, ‘Don’t shut down the government over ObamaCare,’” Rep. Marlin Stutzman (R-Ind.) said, referring to meetings with his constituents over the recess. “I have heard, ‘This law is not ready for primetime, and we need to do anything we can to stop it.’” Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas) has held six events in his north Texas district so far in August and is leaning toward backing the shutdown threat.
He also said the federal government’s move this month to subsidize health insurance for lawmakers and staff required to enter ObamaCare’s exchanges is acting as an “accelerant” and “driving people into a froth” about shutting the government down over ObamaCare funding.
“I’m hearing a lot of anger that is right beneath the surface, ready to erupt,” Burgess said. At one town hall, Burgess said support for the defunding threat was “virtually unanimous” when he asked for a show of hands.
Republicans opposed to the effort believe President Obama and Senate Democrats will never agree to a bill that funds the government, but not the healthcare law. They warn their party would walk into a trap by adopting the strategy, and that Republicans will be blamed for a shutdown.
But even some of these Republicans acknowledge their constituents are telling them to go all out in defunding ObamaCare.
“I’m getting quite a bit about having a shutdown over ObamaCare. I disagree with that,” said Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla), who described his town halls as “challenging.”
GOP leaders have not said whether they would cut funding for ObamaCare as part of a continuing resolution to keep the government operating. Without a new government funding bill, a shutdown will occur on Oct. 1.