House Republicans say grass roots support building for government shutdown

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.

The Hill:

House conservatives say grassroots support is building for their effort to risk a government shutdown to defund ObamaCare.

lt_small House Republicans say grass roots support building for government shutdown

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.

obamasmile_small2 House Republicans say grass roots support building for government shutdown

Among activists, there is little doubt that a shutdown of government would be very popular – even though it wouldn’t stop Obamacare from being implemented. That, apparently, is beside the point. The fact that Obamacare implementation would continue even with a government shutdown isn’t as important to some activsts as the GOP in Washington proving they want to defund law.

There is now talk of funding the government for 60 days when the debt ceiling will have to be raised. Some Republicans think they have better leverage using the debt ceiling as a defunding mechanism than the continuing resolution. Obama has said he won’t negotiate a debt limit increase since he believes that Congress has appropriated the money already, and have no right not to increase the debt limit so it can be spent.

This may be true. But it is far more likely that the president would be blamed for the chaos if the debt limit wasn’t raised because he wouldn’t negotiate. That’s the thinking of some congressional Republicans as we move toward a climax in funding the government by September 30.

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