If you were hoping that members of Congress were going to face noisy protesters demanding citizenship for illegal immigrants at their town halls, so far this August has been a complete disappointment for you. President Obama’s Organizing for America’s plan to push amnesty at Republican town halls has been a total fizzle.
The conservative movement’s push to defund Obamacare, however, has produced plenty of summertime fireworks. Tea Party activists across the country are confronting House Republican members about their support for Sen. Mike Lee’s, R-Utah, push to defund Obamacare via the forthcoming Continuing Resolution, and they are not liking some of the responses they are getting.
‘You got your answer’
In one typical exchange, Rep. Robert Pittenger, R-N.C., was asked by a constituent in Charlotte, “This is what the Tea Party wants to know: Will you vote with Mike Lee to defund Obamacare? Yes or no.” Pettenger then dismissively responded, “No. You got your answer.”
That response did not sit well with the crowd and Pittenger’s office was forced to issue a clarification later: “Because Democrats control both the Senate and White House, I am also pushing efforts to repeal the most damaging portions of Obamacare,” Pittenger’s statement reads, “including a provision that would force student workers and single parents to purchase insurance they don’t need or can’t afford.”
But Pittenger still refused to fight Obamacare through the CR. “While I support efforts to defund Obamacare, the political reality is that goal is not currently achievable. … Voting for this sort of collateral damage is irresponsible and a misguided effort to fight Obamacare.”
Conservatives just want Republicans to fight
Pittenger’s refusal to fight Obamacare through the CR will not be tolerated by his constituents, and conservatives nationwide will not tolerate surrender from the House leadership either. During the Charlotte town hall exchange, a woman can be heard yelling, “Will you make a stand to get conservatives back on board?… It doesn’t matter what Harry Reid does, we need to show the American people we stand for conservative values.”
Another constituent shouted a similar sentiment at a Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, R-Neb. town hall in Lincoln Monday. “We elected Republicans to fight for more conservative policies,” the Nebraskan unhappy with Fortenberry’s refusal to fight Obamacare through the CR said.
Something must be done
While a complete defunding of Obamacare through the CR may not be attainable this year, some conservative activists in Washington are uniting around a strategy that attacks other pillars of Obamacare through the CR. American for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist sent a letter to Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, Wednesday, urging House Republicans, “to insist on, at minimum as part of any final deal, a one-year delay of all 2014 provisions (including mandates, subsidies, and taxes) in the upcoming CR and in fiscal negotiations with the White House.”
The letter, signed by respected conservative health care experts like James Capretta and Avik Roy, goes on to say, “Without a complete, workable verification system to protect taxpayers it would be reckless to allow tens of billions of taxpayer dollars to flow in subsidies. And there is a real risk that navigators, in their zeal to enroll people, will accidentally or even intentionally induce people to accept subsidies for which they do not qualify, risking steep IRS fines and audits. The money should not flow when the law’s verification provisions are not ready to be enforced.”
The Republican town halls so far this August have shown that a complete surrender on Obamacare in the CR is simply unacceptable to the base. Something must be done. The challenge for House leaders will be finding the right hill to fight on when Congress returns after Labor Day.
From The Washington Examiner
Editorial: End the IRS’ role in regulating political speech
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Veronique DeRugy: Social Security Disability Insurance costs are exploding
Ashe Schow: Darrell Issa is winning the Internets
Joel Gehrke: Emails show Ron Paul campaign negotiated to buy Iowa senator’s endorsement
Charlie Spiering: 14 celebrity PSA’s promoting Joe Biden’s shotgun campaign
Tim Carney: In defense of populist rhetoric
Conn Carroll: Taxes rising faster under Obama than under any other president
Phil Klein: Obamacare and the shift to part-time work
Michal Conger: HHS-IG fears Obamacare co-ops will run out of money before enrolling first customers
Susan Ferrechio: Darrell Issa says FEC coordinated with IRS on tax-exempt groups
David Drucker: Republicans debate who would get blame in government shutdown
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