Exclusive--Tea Partiers Blast Romney's Anti-Obamacare Defunding Remarks
Former GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney is facing harsh criticism from some Tea Partiers after his Tuesday evening remarks denouncing those who want to fight to defund Obamacare in the upcoming continuing resolution (CR) that funds government operations.
Speaking to a New Hampshire GOP fundraised, the failed 2012 GOP candidate said he opposes Obamacare but shunned efforts by conservatives to try to defund it. “I badly want ObamaCare to go away, and stripping it of funds has appeal,” Romney said at the GOP fundraiser, according to The Hill. “But we need to exercise great care about any talk of shutting down government. What would come next when soldiers aren't paid, when seniors fear for their Medicare and Social Security, and when the FBI is off duty?”
Romney continued, “I'm afraid that in the final analysis, ObamaCare would get its funding, our party would suffer in the next elections, and the people of the nation would not be happy. I think there are better ways to remove ObamaCare.”
Romney did not offer an alternative solution to stopping Obamacare.
Tea Party Patriots co-founder Jenny Beth Martin told Breitbart News on Tuesday night, “Romney did not want to fight to repeal Obamacare while he was on the campaign so it is no surprise be would not fight now."
FreedomWorks spokeswoman Jackie Bodnar told Breitbart News, “I would think Mitt Romney, of all people, would know that the Party suffers in election years when the issue of ObamaCare is taken off the table, not placed as the centerpiece."
ForAmerica chairman Brent Bozell said it would be foolish for Republicans and conservatives to take political advice from Mitt Romney. "The last person the conservative movement should turn to for winning advice is Mitt Romney,” Bozell said in a statement provided to Breitbart News. “Far from being a hero when it comes to the issue of health care, he foisted RomneyCare on Massachusetts, his own government-run health care scheme. If he had been consistent in opposition to big government, perhaps we wouldn't be facing a situation where President Obama is threatening to shut down the government if he doesn't get funding for the 'train wreck' that is ObamaCare."
Technically, the way this fight would work moving forward, according to Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), is that the House would pass a CR funding all of government except for Obamacare. Then, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and President Obama would need to make the decision whether or not to shut down the government to save funding for Obamacare. The House bill that would serve as a vehicle to accomplish this goal, the Defund Obamacare Act of 2013 or H.R. 2682 from Rep. Tom Graves (R-GA), currently has 138 cosponsors, up 17 from last Friday, as more and more senior members of the House Republican conference join the battle. Several committee chairmen and members of House GOP leadership have signed on in recent days.
In a recent interview laying out the strategy, Lee told Breitbart News that “we don’t want a shutdown.“
“We don’t need a shutdown,” he said. “This is a great way of avoiding a shutdown. What we’re saying is we’re willing to fund everything in government, even the programs we don’t like very much, we’re willing to fund all of that and to extend spending at current levels, we just don’t want to fund Obamacare.”
As such, the Tea Party leaders paving the way on this Obamacare defunding battle are shocked and appalled that people in the perceived GOP establishment like Romney would mischaracterize the fight.
Martin said that since “no one is calling for a government shutdown” that “it is a shame so many establishment Republicans are putting words in the mouths of those who are defending fellow American citizens.“
“President Obama has admitted the law is not ready to be implemented by delaying implementation for big business and granting waiver to members of Congress and their staff,” Martin said. “The heads of the three largest labor unions say this law will shatter their members' healthcare and destroy the 40 hour work week. The effort to delay implementation of the law by stopping the funds to implement it is simple: provide hardworking Americans and their families the same delay and waivers as big business, big labor, and big government have received, fund all other areas of the government, and stop the funding of this trainwreck legislation.”
Similarly, Bodnar said she is “puzzled at the establishment’s reluctance to this strategy.”
“Between the employer mandate delay, the congressional special exemptions and the IRS scandal, this is becoming a perfect storm to be the rallying cry for the 2014 election cycle,” Bodnar said.
Bodnar, like Martin and Lee and everyone else fighting this battle, also said that conservatives do not want to shut the government down. “Small-government conservatives aren’t calling for a government shutdown- we are demanding an ObamaCare shutdown,” she said. “You can fund the government without funding ObamaCare. The ball is in the Democrat’s court to decide whether or not preserving Obama’s legacy is worth shutting the government down.”
“I’m struggling to see how the Party suffers in fighting to defund an entitlement that’s expected to be paid with money we don’t have, that the President himself admits isn’t ready for full implementation, that congressional staffers and connected insiders want--and get--exemptions from, and that will be enforced by the IRS (aka the agency recently caught abusing its discretionary power to target political enemies),” Bodnar said. “If anything, doesn’t the political liability rest in doing nothing?“