On Tuesday, Senate GOP Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) spoke publicly about an effort by conservatives to tie ObamaCare funding to overall government spending. Under a plan pushed by Sens. Cruz and Lee, Republicans would support a continuing resolution to fund government, but only if ObamaCare spending is removed. They believe Obama would be blamed for any government shutdown if he were to veto the spending plan.
“I’m for stopping ObamaCare, but shutting down the government will not stop ObamaCare,” McConnell said at an event in Kentucky. McConnell had previously declined to stake a position on the defunding effort. His public remarks are noteworthy because McConnell now faces a potentially competitive primary challenge from conservative businessman Matt Bevins.
His aides point to a recent study by the Congressional Research Service, which found that much of ObamaCare implementation would continue even if the government shut down. Many of the provisions in ObamaCare are funded by the law itself, rather than the annual spending bill approved by Congress. Funds to implement ObamaCare would continue to flow, even if the rest of the government shutdown.
That said, the push to use the debate over a continuing resolution to defund ObamaCare has become an important, principled fight for many grassroots conservatives. A new continuing resolution must be passed by October 1 to avoid a government shutdown. On that date, also, the ObamaCare health insurance exchanges are set to open. The two then are very closely linked.
UPDATE 11:40am EST: A spokesman for McConnell has contacted Breitbart News to clarify that the Senator has not taken a position on the effort to defund ObamaCare. His remarks were simply pointing out that even a failure to pass a continuing resolution wouldn’t stop funding for ObamaCare. The Hill newspaper misinterpreted his remarks. The original headline and opening sentence have been changed as a result.