GOP Rep. Tom Graves of Georgia said Friday that members of Congress are hearing grief from their constituents about the new health care law and are coalescing around his bill to defund the law, despite political hurdles in the days ahead.
Mr. Graves has attracted at least 42 cosponsors to his “Stability, Security and Fairness Resolution” that would keep the federal government open in fiscal 2014 but delay and defund the Affordable Care Act.
“We have 17 days to do this, and there’s a sense of urgency like never before,” Mr. Graves told radio host and former presidential candidate Herman Cain.
A divided Congress is trying to strike a deal on a short-term spending plan, or “continuing resolution,” that funds the federal government past Sept. 30.
Simultaneously, the Obama administration is putting the finishing touches on state-based health exchanges that open Oct. 1 and allow people without employer-based insurance to shop for coverage, often with the help government subsidies.
Democrats and President Obama say delaying or defunding the health care law as part of a spending deal is a nonstarter, and that Republicans run the risk of being blamed for a government shutdown if they push the issue.
House Republican leaders are trying to walk a fine line with their caucus.
Conservatives balked at an initial plan to attach a rider to the continuing resolution that defunds Obamacare, since Senate Democrats could detach the health care measure from the resolution when they pass their spending plan.
The conservative Club for Growth said Friday it “strongly supports” Mr. Graves’ bill.
“Obamacare has already done immeasurable damage to economic growth, and even labor unions like the AFL-CIO think that it should be repealed,” the group said in a statement. “Republicans, Democrats, and independents are united in opposition to this horrible piece of legislation, and momentum is building to stop it.”