The PAC founded by former Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), now leader at the Heritage Foundation, is behind a recess media campaign to gather public support and strengthen political will to defund Obamacare.
It’s also putting Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) in the spotlight as the driving force urging Americans to jump on board the effort to pressure his GOP colleagues during recess.
Lee led the pre-recess colloquy in which he declared “defund it or own it — if you fund it, you’re for it.” Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) faced Lee in that debate wielding a Congressional Research Service report stating Obamacare can’t be defunded by stemming the appropriations process — leaving repeal, which has never made it through the Senate, the only option.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said during the colloquy that the votes weren’t currently there to pass a wholesale defunding of Obamacare, but stressed Republicans and some Democrats could come around if the American people rose up “en masse” over recess to demand a freeze to the healthcare law.
With a 32-day countdown clock on its website, the Don’t Fund Obamacare campaign run by the Senate Conservatives Fund has gathered more than 880,000 signatures.
The site prominently features messages from Lee and Cruz that are also running on outlets such as Fox News.
It also targets Senate Republicans who haven’t signed Lee’s pledge to oppose the continuing resolution if it includes Obamacare funding.
Some of the GOPs haven’t responded yet, but those marked as refusing to sign Lee’s letter include Coburn, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), John McCain (R-Ariz.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.).
That means Lee already doesn’t have the support he needs with the pledge of other centrist Republicans who likely wouldn’t support his effort still outstanding.
So the campaign is trying to put pressure on those who haven’t signed the pledge, which doesn’t seem to be worrying his Senate brethren:
Oh, whatever… http://t.co/Px6eCHXM6y
— Jeff Flake (@JeffFlake) August 26, 2013
A new Kaiser Health Tracking Poll found 42 percent with an unfavorable view of Obamacare and 37 percent with a positive view, with 57 percent of all polled disapproving of the effort to defund the bill. Sixty percent of Republicans polled approved defunding of the bill, along with 39 percent of independents and 15 percent of Democrats.