- The Washington Times - Monday, September 16, 2013

For some hard-line conservatives, there is no war analogy too big when it comes to rallying people against Obamacare.

Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann compared the fight to defund President Obama’s Affordable Care Act to World War II’s Battle of the Bulge, with its 76,000 American casualties, while Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas likened it to the last stand at the Alamo, the suicidal stand that became a rallying cry for Texans in their war of independence from Mexico.

“We cannot take our eyes off what it will mean to the devastation of health care in America if we don’t do all we can to stop Obamacare from being funded,” Mr. Gohmert, a Republican, said at an anti-Obamacare rally last week. “I’m not talking about the illusion of trying to stop Obamacare, I’m talking about taking a stand because, remember — I’m from Texas. We have the Alamo in Texas and we believe in taking a stand for liberty.”

The call to arms underscores just how much conservatives believe they have riding on this month’s fight over whether to go all the way to the brink of a government shutdown to try to kill or delay the new health law. Despite the escalating rhetoric, the White House and top Democrats in Congress vow to stand firm in defense of the law.

On Thursday, Maryland Rep. Chris Van Hollen, the ranking Democrat on the House Budget Committee, shrugged off the dire warnings that Republicans have been making in the runup to Oct. 1, when the enrollment period for the state health insurance exchanges begins.

“They are not worried that it will not work,” Mr. Van Hollen said. “They are worried that it will work. All their scaremongering and outrageous statements will be proven false.”

The debate has caused some heartburn for the two top-ranking House Republican leaders, Speaker John A. Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor, who had to postpone a vote on a continuing spending resolution this week — which would have funded the government through mid-December — because of inner turmoil in the House GOP caucus over how to defund Obamacare.

Mr. Boehner struggled Thursday to explain how he plans to get his rank-and-file members on the same page as the deadlines for both the health law and the new federal fiscal year loom.

“There are a lot of discussions going on about how to deal with the [continuing resolution] and the issue of Obamacare, and so we’re continuing to work with our members,” Mr. Boehner told reporters.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said Thursday that funding for the health care law is non-negotiable.

“We will not accept anything that delays or defunds Obamacare,” Mr. Carney said.

The Democrat-controlled Senate and Republican-controlled House set the stage during the spending battle in March when they passed a stopgap spending measure that expires on Sept. 30 — the day before Obamacare kicks in.

Conservatives in both the House and Senate have since argued that they must do everything in their power to kill the health care law before it begins.

Sen. Mike Lee, Utah Republican, has described the vote on the continuing resolution as the “last stop on the Obamacare express” and has led a breakaway group of conservatives in both chambers on Congress who pledge to reject any spending bills that includes money for Obamacare.

Speaking at the anti-Obamacare rally last week, Mrs. Bachmann told the crowd that they can take inspiration from Gen. Anthony McAuliffe’s famously single-world reply to a German surrender ultimatum at the Siege of Bastogne.

“He said, ‘Nuts!’” Mrs. Bachmann shouted outside the Capitol. “Today we look at this building and today we say to Republicans, to Democrats, to striped zebras, I don’t care who these people are, we say to them ‘Nuts’ because we are looking to the future.”

But other Republicans have warned that the defunding proposal would not survive the Democrat-led Senate and that Mr. Obama would veto any spending proposal that guts his signature domestic achievement. The resultant stalemate — and possible government shutdown — would damage the Republican image, they warn.

House Appropriations Committee Chairman Harold Rogers, Kentucky Republican, rolled out a proposal last week to fund the government through Dec. 15, effectively decoupling the fight over spending from the desire to gut Obamacare.

Conservatives, though, rebelled and rejected the plan, forcing Mr. Boehner to hold off on a vote.

Rep. Tim Huelskamp, Kansas Republican, told The Washington Times on Thursday that House leaders may have fallen out of touch with the GOP base, which is calling on them to follow through on their previous promises to do everything they can to scrap the law.

“If you want to pass something through the House, it has to defund Obamacare,” Mr. Huelskamp said.

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