Ky.'s congressional Republicans echo GOP's divide over how to stop Obamacare

08/16/2013 05:56 PM

While two Kentucky Republican Congressmen are signing on to an effort to shut the government down rather than fund Obamacare, Kentucky’s two Republican U.S. Senators say that won’t work.

And that encapsulates the tug-of-war going on within the GOP over how best to stop or delay implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

Kentucky Republican Congressmen Andy Barr, R-Lexington, and Thomas Massie, R-Vanceburg, have signed on to an effort led by the tea party organization FreedomWorks .

The effort is aimed at drumming up support to block any continuing resolution that allows funding for the federal government beyond the end of the fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30. Republican Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Congressman Tom Graves (R-GA) plan to attach bills that would completely de-fund Obamacare to the continuing resolution.

“Harry Reid and his Democrats will have no incentive to compromise unless they know the Republicans are willing to take a hard stance- even willing the government to be shut down, if necessary- in order to stop the catastrophically unworkable and unaffordable health care law from taking effect this January,” the FreedomWorks post said.

Barr, according to his spokeswoman, signed on to the effort because he’s heard from so many people who are concerned about the law that the “best and most-practical approach for everyone” is to delay implementation of the law for at least a year.

“There is absolutely no need to shut down the government because we can continue to fund all other aspects of the government without funding Obamacare’s implementation in 2014. The only way the government gets shut down is if supporters of the law continue with their my-way-or-the-highway approach of conditioning funding the rest of the government on also spending billions to implement Obamacare in 2014, which even the administration admits is impossible,” Barr spokeswoman Catherine Gatewood said in a statement to Pure Politics.

As the FreedomWorks post points out, Kentucky U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell has not been supportive of this approach by his fellow Republicans.

While McConnell has strongly criticized Obamacare, he has stopped short of calling for halting its implementation at the expense of the rest of government. He said this week a government shutdown — or threats — wouldn’t work because it would just drag on. And on Wednesday, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul said he agreed with McConnell .

Still, McConnell’s primary opponent Matt Bevin is trying to make political hay over it by appealing to Republican primary voters who dislike or distrust the new health care law. Bevin’s campaign released a new web ad this week that asks “Where’s Mitch?” when it comes to the issue.

The ad puts Bevin in with Senators Mike Lee and Ted Cruz calling for the government to defund the Affordable Care Act.


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