A conservative group of Senate Republicans is pushing ahead with a plan to block any continuing resolution to keep the government running if it includes funding for the Affordable Care Act, the president's health care legislation.
The plan is supported by 12 lawmakers, including 2016 presidential hopefuls Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Ted Cruz, R-Texas, who joined conservative standard bearers Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., and John Thune, R-S.D., who wrote a letter warning Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., they will block any stop-gap funding measure that keeps taxpayer dollars flowing to "Obamacare."
Earlier this month, President Barack Obama announced his administration would postpone enforcement of a provision that would penalize businesses with more than 40 employees who did not offer their employees health insurance.
Republicans have used that as evidence that the Obama administration's landmark legislation isn't ready for primetime.
"The Obama Administration's recent decision to delay Obamacare's employer mandate and eligibility verification for the individual exchanges is further proof the law is a failure that will inevitably hurt businesses, American families, and the economy," wrote Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, who is spearheading the funding cut. "I call on all Americans who oppose the unfair implementation of the president's health care law to join us in the effort to fund the government, but not Obamcare. If the president can't follow his law, then the American people shouldn't fund it."
Tea party groups like Club for Growth, a PAC that supports right-leaning candidates, has applauded Lee's leadership and called on Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to adopt the plan. The request has put McConnell in an odd position as he faces a tea party opponent in a primary on the one hand and a Democratic challenger on the other.
"If Senator McConnell is committed to defunding ObamaCare, then he should sign the Lee letter and promise not to support a continuing resolution or any budget that funds ObamaCare," said Club for Growth President Chris Chocola. "We are disappointed by rumors that senate Republican leadership is pressuring senators not to sign Lee's letter or to remove their names – they should instead encourage others to sign on."
McConnell's office would not comment on whether they supported the approach of possibly shutting down the government over the Affordable Care Act, but did reaffirm McConnell was committed to repealing the health care law.
Some Republicans are opposed to the idea of threatening a government shutdown over the health care bill including Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., who told reporters that it is the "dumbest idea I have ever heard of."
"Some of these guys need to understand that if you shut down the federal government you better have a certain reason to do it that is achievable," Burr said.