Are GOP Leaders Backing off From the Fight Over Obamacare?

by Robert Maynard

Eric Erickson, over at, is arguing that the GOP leadership in the House and Senate are backing off from the fight over Obamacare.  It is not clear from their actual words that this is the case.  Here is the article from

Joining Eric Cantor, John Boehner, Kevin McCarthy, and Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell is declaring surrender on Obamacare.

He will no longer fight it.

You’d never know that if you paid attention to his preferred words about Obamacare at CPAC. McConnell told the crowd that “Obamacare should be repealed root and branch.” He also told the crowd that those who think he’s given up the fight are wrong. He pledged to continue to fight.

I call bull.

The part of his speech that McConnell hopes you ignore is him saying, “When it came to Obamacare, we gave it everything we have, everything we have, and we just lost.” He’s also signaling that the Senate Republicans will neither filibuster the continuing resolution nor shut down the government.

The continuing resolution is the best vehicle to use as a fight to defund Obamacare. Republicans will not, despite their rhetoric right now, fight on the debt ceiling to undermine Obamacare. This is the fight.

McConnell has a history of throwing red meat to the crowd then turning his back on them. Last February, Jim DeMint offered an amendment to defund Obamacare. McConnell refused to offer it up as a Republican amendment in the Senate because he did not want to anger Harry Reid. The backlash caused McConnell to promise a month long PR campaign about Obamacare the following month.

It never happened.

John Boehner’s back to claiming we have no debt crisis and that he wants to cut spending, so defunding Obamacare can’t happen. Yes, rationalize that.

Mitch McConnell is claiming he’ll fight to kill Obamacare, but won’t actually fight to kill Obamacare.

While it is a good idea to keep a watchful eye on the GOP leadership, I am not so sure that their exact words are an indication that they are not willing to continue the fight.  First McConnell.  I see nowhere in any of Erickson’s links where McConnell said that he would not support defunding Obamacare.  He did say that the GOP lost the battle over repealing Obamacare.  On that matter, McConnell is right.  Unless he refuses to support the effort to defund Obamacare, this looks more like a tactical shift than a backing off altogether.

The same appears to be true with Boehner.  I have not come across any sources where Boehner actually says that we have no debt crisis.  He did say, in a UPI article, that the debt crisis was looming but not immediate:

“We do not have an immediate debt crisis,” Boehner said on ABC’s “This Week.”

But we all know that we have one looming. And we have one looming because we have entitlement programs that are not sustainable in their current form. They’re gonna go bankrupt.

This was in response to Obama saying that the debt crisis was not immediate.  He also said that we are going to go bankrupt if we do not address the problem.  If conservatives are to be successful in holding our political leaders’ feet to the fire over reigning in spending, we need to be a little more accurate in representing what they are saying.