A group of House conservative members became increasingly vocal on Thursday, the day before the House will vote to defund Obamacare in the upcoming Continuing Resolution (CR) that funds the government. House GOP leadership has agreed to hold the pro-conservative vote on Friday. Tea Party-aligned members believe this move unites the Republican Party around an anti-ObamaCare rallying cry and puts Senate Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) and President Barack Obama in the hot seat.
“It’s a great day,” Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), a conservative and intellectual leader of the defund ObamaCare movement, said at a press event on Thursday afternoon. “We’re going to pass this legislation tomorrow that is exactly what the American people think should happen.”
“It’s a great day for America,” Rep. Tom Graves (R-GA), the author and principal sponsor of the legislative vehicle by which Republicans aim to take down Obamacare, added. “It truly is. We’re on the eve of a historic moment here in Washington, D.C., as we take this vote in the House tomorrow. We’re sending a very strong message to the American people that we as Republicans in the House and the Senate are united in a way that I haven’t seen in a long, long time. We’re united in the common goal of protecting the American people from the harmful effects of Obamacare. In turn, the question turns to the Senate and directly to Harry Reid. What will Harry Reid do? Will he continue to protect his friends, the president’s friends, big business and members of Congress, those on K Street, or will he also extend protections to the American people? That’s really what it comes down to: A simple question for Harry Reid and what will Harry do, is the question America will be asking over the next couple of days.”
In response to a barrage of questioning from the mainstream media, the core group of conservative members maintained their resolve. Reporters attempted to pose hypothetical situations about what Reid might do in response. “The next 11 days are all we have to protect the American people from the harmful effects of this law, the same harmful effects that are too dangerous for the president’s friends,” Graves said in response to a question from a reporter who asked what might happen if Reid pulls a certain hypothetical procedural trick.
“We’re focused on the legislation that’s going to be voted on tomorrow, instead of what’s going to happen down the road,” Jordan chimed in. “The American people understand this is the right thing to do. I told someone the other day: ‘Even [New England Patriots head coach Bill] Belichick doesn’t script out the whole game. We’re closer to home. [Ohio State University head football coach] Urban Meyer doesn’t script out every play. This is exactly what America wants. Let’s talk about that. We’ve got 11 days before this exchange happens. That’s a long time to make the case. Let’s focus on that issue, which is the right thing to do. What happens down the road? Well, we’ll wait and see.”
Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID), another conservative leader who has led this fight, jumped in to argue that Tea Party members of Congress “have been making that case to the American people.”
“The American people are with us on this issue,” Labrador said. “And we just need to continue to make that case to the American people and keep asking Harry Reid, like Tom [Graves] has said several times: ‘What are you going to do? Are you going to go up against the American people? Are you willing to have [exemptions] for your friends, for big businesses, and not for American families that are going to suffer under this law?'”
Labrador added that Republicans are “actually taking” what he called “the compromise position,” while Democrats like Reid and Obama refuse to compromise.
“The Democrats want full implementation of Obamacare, and we want full repeal of Obamacare,” Labrador said. “And we’re seeing all we’re asking for is a one-year delay. That is a minimum ground that we’re asking Harry Reid to take. He’s calling us all sorts of names like ‘anarchist,’ or ‘terrorist’ and all these names. And we’re the ones who are actually taking a reasonable position with regards to this law and it’s Harry Reid and the president who are willing to shut down the government if they don’t get everything they want with a law they believe is going to be harmful to the American people.”
Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX) added that the inspiration for this fight, and necessity for it, comes from the mandate the American people have given Republicans via their aggressive engagement via social media and their activism in calling and writing their members of Congress demanding a way to stop Obamacare. “I do get the impression this is the first act of a three-act play, but we’re here and we’re here on the precipice of passing a CR with defunding language in it because of the involvement of the American people,” Burgess said. “This is not the time for them to become uninvolved; this is the time for them to become more involved, for them to call on their senators just as they called on their House members. Let’s keep that pressure up. There are six senate seats where Democrats are having to defend, and all of those Democrats voted for the Affordable Care Act. Next week is the time that they get right with their constituents.”