The PJ Tatler

GOP Congressman: Defund-Obamacare Caucus Not Conservative Because Conservatives 'Know How to Count'

A Central California Republican slammed the defund-Obamacare caucus in the House as lacking the math skills to be true conservatives.

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), who represents an agricultural swathe of the San Joaquin Valley and is close to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), told CNN this afternoon that he felt “pretty strongly” that a bill to end the shutdown and address the debt ceiling would pass through the Rules Committee today and make it to the floor for a vote tonight.

The Rules Committee announced a 5:40 p.m. meeting on the emergency measure, an amendment version of the continuing resolution.

“Essentially what it is, it’s a clean debt limit increase until, I believe, into the new year,” Nunes said. “And I think a clean debt limit — CR funding the government until probably December. And then with the medical device tax, making sure that — that there is all members of Congress and staff and White House are on ObamaCare. And then making sure that there’s an income verification in ObamaCare. So a couple of small changes to ObamaCare, but all changes that the Senate actually agrees with. And I think this — this would be a strong bipartisan compromise with the Senate.”

The fifth-term congressman said he didn’t know how much of the Republican conference would get behind the bill.

“It would really show those who are Republicans and those across the country, those that came here to actually govern and make law and actually do something with their voting card versus people who just want to vote no,” Nunes said.

He’d previously called the Tea Party group aligned with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) the “lemming caucus” and accused them of pushing a “moronic” strategy.

“These are not conservatives that do this. To be a conservative, you have to know how to count. And we started off in this without even counting the votes. Clearly, we didn’t have the votes. And so now we’ve been through this for two weeks. It’s exactly — it’s playing out exactly as we knew it would. It was not going to get rid of ObamaCare. But there are times when we work closely using our majority, like we’ll try to do tonight. If we can use our majority tonight to give us leverage, then I think Harry Reid will have to take this, or something that looks awfully — an awful lot like it,” Nunes said today.

“When you go out and tell your constituents that we are going to just shut the government down until we get rid of ObamaCare, it’s just lunacy, plain and simple. So this allows us tonight to get 218 Republicans to pass something that would then be — go over to the Senate, that would make some small changes to ObamaCare that need to be made.”

Nunes said “the Democrats are going to give us no votes, because let’s face it, the Democrats like having this shutdown. This is helping them politically.” So 218 Republicans need to vote for the measure to move it to the Senate.

“So we have to just wait and see if we can get the votes tonight. And then Harry Reid is going to have a tough decision to make, because then it really will be Harry Reid’s default,” he added.

“We know that in the Senate, it will get Democratic votes. We know that there’s strong bipartisan support for this. In the House, it’s a much more political. This is one of the things that some of my conservative friends haven’t figured out yet, that without 218 votes in the House, you just don’t have any leverage. So I don’t suspect that Nancy Pelosi is going to give us very many votes, but there will be a few Democrats that will vote for this.”

Cruz met with 15 to 20 Republican House members on Monday night at Tortilla Coast, a popular spot for after-work drinks on Capitol Hill, reported Roll Call.

“Sources said the House Republicans meeting in the basement of Tortilla Coast with Cruz were some of the most conservative in the House: Reps. Louie Gohmert of Texas, Steve King of Iowa, Jim Jordan of Ohio, Raúl R. Labrador of Idaho, Justin Amash of Michigan, Marlin Stutzman of Indiana, Thomas Massie of Kentucky and Tim Huelskamp of Kansas,” Roll Call reported.

Spotted in a separate dinner at Tortilla Coast, and a spotter of Cruz and his group, was House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).

What books does Bridget Johnson recommend for 2013? Click here to see her picks at the Freedom Academy Book Club.