Obamacare Defunding Fight Could Threaten Boehner Leverage, Message
The effort by conservatives in the House and Senate to threaten a government shutdown over Obamacare could force Speaker John A. Boehner into the arms of House Democrats.
With 60 Republicans already pushing the Ohio Republican to defund Obamacare in any spending bill, the speaker may not be able to cobble together a House majority on a bill that President Barack Obama would sign without Democratic votes. And he’s not likely to get those votes for free.
A dozen Republican senators led by Mike Lee, R-Utah, already signed a letter vowing to vote against any continuing resolution that funds Obamacare. And Rep. Marlin Stutzman of Indiana — who helped torpedo GOP leaders’ first attempt at a farm bill — became the first House Republican last week to make the same absolutist pledge.
“I’m not going to vote for a continuing resolution that funds Obamacare,” Stutzman said in a July 25 release. “It makes no sense to spend another dime on a failed law that the president has already delayed.”
But senior aides from both sides of the aisle say the threat would surely backfire on Republicans if they carry it out. For one thing, most of Obama’s new health care program is mandatory spending that is not affected by appropriations bills, so it would continue to receive funding in any event.