Yesterday, when asked directly about Republicans shutting down the government over Obamacare, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell sounded less than committed to the endeavor. This is not a hypothetical question. Senator Mike Lee has issued a letter saying he will not pass a continuing resolution that funds Obamacare. He has been joined by fifteen Republican Senators.
Unfortunately, I can confirm from multiple sources in the United States Senate that Senator McConnell's office has begun pressuring Republicans to back away from the Mike Lee effort. In fact, one senate source tells me Senator Lee himself was asked to take his signature off his own letter.
While Senate Republicans appear to be going wobbly, Speaker John Boehner blasted out two news stories yesterday. The first was an ABC News poll showing most Americans are soured on Obamacare and the second was a story that Democrats are starting to run from Obamacare. The Speaker seems to get what is going on.
For conservative activists, the next few weeks will be crucial to keeping pressure on Senate Republicans. They should first remind Senate Republicans that, contrary to myth, they gained seats in 1996 after the Gingrich government shutdown. At the time, Gingrich credited the GOP's hard line with them holding their own in the 1996 election despite Bob Dole's loss to Bill Clinton. Read this by Dan Mitchell to beef up on the real history of the 1995 shutdown.
Now, here is what conservative activists should pay attention to. I have obtained the complete list of current signatures to Mike Lee's letter. Likewise, Ted Cruz has legislation that would defund Obamacare. I have a list of the sponsors of that legislation. We should keep track to see who pulls their name off Mike Lee's letter and who pulls their name off Ted Cruz's bill. Additionally, several Senators are either on the letter or the bill, but not both. We should pressure them to be on both.
As it stands now, here is the list that I have confirmed and we should all be vigilant against Senate GOP Leadership pressure:
ON BOTH THE LEE LETTER AND THE TED CRUZ BILL TO DEFUND:
ON LETTER, NOT ON BILL
ON BILL, NOT ON LETTER
Call these people and ask that they sign the Mike Lee letter. It is important to get their signatures on that letter or we can presume they will fund Obamacare.