Exclusive: ForAmerica Creates Grassroots Pressure on Boehner over Obamacare
A Facebook posting from ForAmerica on Friday morning has generated at least 5,000 phone calls from conservative activists to House Speaker John Boehner’s office, Breitbart News has learned.
“Everyone knows ObamaCare has to go. But Speaker John Boehner won't fight to defund it,” the conservative group ForAmerica wrote on its Facebook page on Friday shortly before noon ET. “Call the Speaker (877) 976-7521 and tell him to fight to defund ObamaCare now!”
Scott Hogenson, the campaign manager for ForAmerica’s grassroots operation, confirmed to Breitbart News that at least 5,000 people called Boehner’s office over the course of the next few hours. The group tracked the number of phone calls to measure the response using a special 800-number. The calls began around 11:15 a.m. ET on Friday; by early afternoon, more than 5,000 people had called Boehner.
For America chairman Brent Bozell said in a statement provided to Breitbart News that this is only the beginning. He said it would be wise for House GOP leadership to stand up and defund Obamacare in the upcoming Continuing Resolution (CR) that funds the government, as conservatives are going to continue fighting stronger and harder.
“This should be a sign to Speaker Boehner and every other Member of Congress that Americans do not want to pay for Obamacare,” Bozell said. “ForAmerica and the Tea Party Patriots have just started to rally the grass roots, and they want their elected officials to keep their promise to stop Obamacare. The Speaker has the power and ability to stop It by passing a CR that funds the government but not Obamacare.”
Bozell added that any member of Congress, Republican or Democrat, who votes to pay for Obamacare is responsible for Obamacare. Bozell’s comments are very similar to what nationally-syndicated radio host Mark Levin argued on Thursday evening: If Boehner does not defund Obamacare in the CR, it will forever be known as “BoehnerCare.”
“Any member of Congress that funds it owns it as we will never be able to roll back the subsidies or regulations,” Bozell said. “Now is the time to lead and stop what has been called a train wreck by Obamacare's lead sponsor in the Senate. Speaker Boehner and other GOP members have made a promise to the American people to do all they can to stop Obamacare."
"If they do not keep this promise and defund Obamacare they risk an enormous backlash from grassroots America who will hold them accountable," he wared. "We saw that backlash today and and so did the Speaker of the House.”
ForAmerica is an online grassroots operation with more than 3.5 million supporters, a 501(c)4 that describes itself as a nonprofit “organized to educate Americans about traditional and contemporary American values, to relentlessly fight the growth of government, to oppose any substitute to freedom and self-government, to promote individual liberty and excellence, to promote economic opportunity, and to move America toward her founding principles.” It is chaired by Brent Bozell.
Republicans have been feeling grassroots pressure on Obamacare lately; on Friday, Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC) lashed out on Twitter at conservative group Heritage Action for pressuring her to defund Obamacare in the CR.
As Breitbart News reported on Friday, she responded harshly at Heritage Action and Tweeted out accusations that the conservative group somehow wanted Democrats to take over the House.
The National Review’s Jonathan Strong subsequently noted that Ellmers had promised to use the CR as a vehicle to defund Obamacare in 2011.
In a "Bloggers Briefing" at none other than the Heritage Foundation, Ellmers told an audience in March 2011 she would push GOP leadership to use a continuing-resolution bill to defund Obamacare. Heritage’s Robert Bluey asked Ellmers about specific amendments to defund Obamacare and Planned Parenthood that weren’t in a two-week stop-gap bill the House had just passed and asked, "Are those issues that you’re going to push leadership on..." But before Bluey could even finish his question, Ellmers interrupted to say, "Absolutely!" She went on to defend the relatively modest spending cuts that had been in the stop-gap measure.
Ellmers’ spokesman argued to Strong that the situation has changed between 2011 and 2013. “The situation you are referring to took place in March of 2011 right after Republicans had taken control of the House in a historic election,” Ellmers’ spokesman told Strong. “Since that time, President Obama has won reelection and Democrats have held onto their majority in the U.S. Senate. Things would be very different now if Mitt Romney had won the presidency and Republicans gained control of the Senate, but unfortunately they didn’t.”
Strong suggested the only thing that's changed is Ellmers has come to admire Boehner since arriving in Washington.
“Perhaps more than any other member of the tea-party class of 2010, she has embraced the strategic decisions of Speaker John Boehner and the House leadership team with gusto,” Strong wrote. “Although elected with virtually no party support and zero political experience besides her participation at anti-Obamacare rallies, Ellmers was surprised, upon entering Congress, to find herself impressed by Boehner.”
Strong then quoted Ellmers’ recent interview with the New York Times: “There is just a lot of mistrust Americans have for ‘those people in Washington,’” Ellmers said, laughing while adding: “and now I am one of those people in Washington.”