When it comes to negotiations over ending the partial government shutdown, Heritage Action for America has just one instruction for Congress: Defund Obamacare.
Michael Needham, chief executive officer of the Washington policy group that promotes small government, said the only shutdown resolution that lawmakers should accept is one that cuts off financing for President Barack Obama’s signature health-care law. The law’s main feature, health insurance marketplaces for consumers, opened Oct. 1, the first day of the shutdown.
“Anything that comes out of this has to address the core fight, which is Obamacare,” Needham said today at a breakfast in Washington sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor. “The conservative base asked their elected officials to stand strong.”
While lawmakers spent August in their home districts, Heritage held a nine-city Defund Obamacare Town Hall Tour. Needham said constituent pressure convinced the House to use the power of the purse to attack the health-care law.
Nine days into the government shutdown, lawmakers shouldn’t give up that fight now, he said. His comments come as some Republican lawmakers have signaled they want the shutdown debate to move away from health care.
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan is pressing for a resolution to the impasse that involves deeper cuts to entitlement programs and a revision of tax policies. An opinion column he wrote in today’s Wall Street Journal does not mention the health-care law as a point of debate.
Needham said Heritage — which “scores” lawmakers on how conservative their votes are — would not object to House Speaker John Boehner passing a short-term debt ceiling increase so that lawmakers can maintain their focus on derailing the 2010 health-care law by excluding it when they pass a short-term funding bill, or continuing resolution.
“The winning tactic right now on Obamacare is to focus on the C.R.,” he said.