Obamacare Opponents’ Shouts for Defunding Largely Ignored on Capitol Hill

National Journal
Sophie Novack
Add to Briefcase
Sophie Novack
Sept. 10, 2013, 5:30 p.m.

“I hope I don’t get skin can­cer out here!” Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., ex­claimed to the few hun­dred people as­sembled in front of the Cap­it­ol on Tues­day af­ter­noon. “Can you ima­gine the line?”

He was talk­ing about the Af­ford­able Care Act. And the line was for health­care. Crowd mem­bers laughed as they fanned them­selves with fol­ded “Ex­empt Amer­ica” signs de­pict­ing the Amer­ic­an flag. People were seated in col­lapsible chairs, some hold­ing um­brel­las to block the strong sun, as Paul railed against Obama­care to a com­mit­ted and vo­cal crowd.

“Any­one here want to wait a year for their gall blad­der to come out?” “No!”

“How about we de­fund the whole damn thing?” “De­fund!”

The Ex­empt Amer­ica From Obama­care rally was the latest at­tempt by tea-party groups and some law­makers to re­in­vig­or­ate their calls for Con­gress to re­ject a con­tinu­ing res­ol­u­tion at the end of this month that would in­clude fund­ing for the health care law.

The plan to threaten a gov­ern­ment shut­down over Obama­care is gen­er­ally con­sidered to have been a fail­ure. House Ma­jor­ity Lead­er Eric Can­tor, R-Va., an­nounced a new strategy Tues­day that will in­volve House Re­pub­lic­ans de­mand­ing a one-year delay to the law in ex­change for rais­ing the debt ceil­ing.

Yet the re­l­at­ively small crowd at the rally was en­er­gized and com­mit­ted to the cause, and event or­gan­izers and speak­ers re­mained op­tim­ist­ic. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, a lead­ing force in the de­fund-Obama­care move­ment, came to the stage to chants of “Run, Ted, Run!” from the crowd.

“If tra­di­tion­al rules of Wash­ing­ton ap­ply, we can’t win,” Cruz said. “But I’m con­vinced the mod­el has changed. There is a brand-new mod­el in Amer­ica, and that is the rise of the grass­roots.”

The cofounder of Tea Party Pat­ri­ots, Jenny Beth Mar­tin, was on a sim­il­ar page. She said that the event — or­gan­ized in col­lab­or­a­tion with oth­er tea-party or­gan­iz­a­tions, in­clud­ing Her­it­age Ac­tion, Freedom­Works, Cit­izens United, and oth­ers — was about get­ting their mes­sage out to Con­gress and the pub­lic.

“We’re not go­ing away,” Mar­tin told Na­tion­al Journ­al Daily. “We nev­er wanted [Obama­care] to be passed, and we’ll con­tin­ue to fight for free­dom.” Should Con­gress vote this week to keep fund­ing the health care law in the con­tinu­ing res­ol­u­tion, Mar­tin said the fight will be far from over. “We’ll con­tin­ue hav­ing events, mak­ing phone calls to Con­gress, and re­cruit­ing new can­did­ates.”

The move­ment’s loc­al, grass­roots ap­proach was evid­ent in the crowd. Bob Ma­son, 73, came on a bus from North Car­o­lina. Dressed in roy­al-blue co­lo­ni­al at­tire and car­ry­ing a large Amer­ic­an flag over his shoulder, Ma­son left his home at 9 p.m. Monday and was to re­turn at 4 a.m. Wed­nes­day. “[The law] is the worst thing that could hap­pen to Amer­ica,” he said. “Obama­care is re­spons­ible for killing jobs.”

Lead­ers main­tain that the de­fund­ing move­ment is not los­ing steam, des­pite lim­ited sup­port from law­makers and the pub­lic. “It’s gonna be suc­cess­ful,” said former pres­id­en­tial can­did­ate Her­man Cain, who spoke at the rally.

Oth­er speak­ers in­cluded Rep. Michele Bach­mann, R-Minn.; Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Fla.; and James Golden — the Rush Limbaugh talk-show pro­du­cer and per­son­al­ity.

What We're Following See More »
TRUMP CANCELS FLORIDA TRIP
Congress Heads Back to Work to End Shutdown
1 days ago
THE LATEST

"The Senate was expected to be back in session at noon, while House lawmakers were told to return to work for a 9 a.m. session. Mr. Trump on Friday had canceled plans to travel to his private resort on Palm Beach, Fla., where a celebration had been planned for Saturday to celebrate the anniversary of his first year in office."

Source:
CLOTURE FAILS
Government Shutdown Begins, as Senate Balks at Stopgap
1 days ago
THE LATEST

"A stopgap spending bill stalled in the Senate Friday night, leading to a government shutdown for the first time since 2013. The continuing resolution funding agencies expired at midnight, and lawmakers were unable to spell out any path forward to keep government open. The Senate on Friday night failed to reach cloture on a four-week spending bill the House had already approved."

Source:
HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS IN SUSPICIOUS CHECKS FLAGGED
Mueller’s Team Scrutinizing Russian Embassy Transactions
3 days ago
THE LATEST
PRO-TRUMP SPENDING COULD VIOLATE FECA
FBI Investigating Potential Russian Donations to NRA
3 days ago
THE DETAILS

"The FBI is investigating whether a top Russian banker with ties to the Kremlin illegally funneled money to the National Rifle Association to help Donald Trump win the presidency." Investigators have focused on Alexander Torshin, the deputy governor of Russia’s central bank "who is known for his close relationships with both Russian President Vladimir Putin and the NRA." The solicitation or use of foreign funds is illegal in U.S. elections under the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) by either lobbying groups or political campaigns. The NRA reported spending a record $55 million on the 2016 elections.

Source:
DISCLOSURES MORE THAN DOUBLED
Mueller Investigation Leads to Hundreds of New FARA Filings
3 days ago
THE LATEST

"Hundreds of new and supplemental FARA filings by U.S. lobbyists and public relations firms" have been submitted "since Special Counsel Mueller charged two Trump aides with failing to disclose their lobbying work on behalf of foreign countries. The number of first-time filings ... rose 50 percent to 102 between 2016 and 2017, an NBC News analysis found. The number of supplemental filings, which include details about campaign donations, meetings and phone calls more than doubled from 618 to 1,244 last year as lobbyists scrambled to avoid the same fate as some of Trump's associates and their business partners."

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login