DeMint calls for meaningful vote to defund Obamacare

September 12, 2013
Sen. Jim DeMint (Melina Mara/Washington Post)
Jim DeMint (Melina Mara/The Washington Post)

Heritage Foundation President Jim DeMint called for an end to “pretend votes” and “gimmicks” to kill the Affordable Care Act and said Republicans must use the budget resolution to defund the president’s health-care law once and for all.

DeMint dismissed the obstacles that a Democrat-controlled Senate and a likely presidential veto could pose to a House budget resolution.

“This is must-pass bill. Our point is Republicans should fund the government in its entirety except for Obamacare,” he said. “They should send that bill to the president, to the Senate, make it clear to Americans, they don’t want government shut down.”

The House has voted more than 40 times time repeal Obamacare, but each attempt has died in the Senate.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) told reporters he reminded  Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) of that fact at a meeting between leaders and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew on Tuesday morning.

“I told him, very directly, that all these things they are trying to do on the Obamacare is just a waste of their time,” Reid said.

Still, DeMint said the unpopularity of the law with the public would eventually cause Democrats – even President Obama –  to comply.

“I don’t know what the president would do,” DeMint said. “But I think if the president rejects the government funding, he’s going to have a hard time making the case that somebody else shut it down.”

House Republican leaders have spent the past two days trying to persuade their membership to back a proposal that would attach a bill to defund Obamacare to the continuing resolution.

While the measure could be stripped from the CR in the Senate, House aides said it would have required senators to vote on the issue, providing fodder for campaign attacks down the road.

The proposal was scheduled for a vote this week but was pulled from the floor after conservative members criticized it as too weak.

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Aaron Blake | September 12, 2013