A conservative advocacy group that recently launched a series of online political ads that call Republicans “chickens” for what the group considers lackluster efforts to defund the Affordable Care Act are planning to hold events near lawmakers’ district offices in the next week.
Activists from an organization called For America Inc. plan to join Tea Party Patriots on a five-state “Exempt America Tour” urging GOP lawmakers to refuse to support any government-spending bill unless it defunds the health care law known as Obamacare.
Lawmakers must approve a new spending bill by the end of September or risk temporarily shutting down the government, and some conservatives see it as an opportunity to cripple the health care law.
The campaign will target key congressional Republicans. Starting on Aug. 27, the tour is scheduled to visit the offices of Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell in Lexington, Texas Sen. John Cornyn in Austin, Mississippi Sen. Roger Wicker in Jackson, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham in Columbia and Virginia Rep. Eric Cantor in Richmond.
The events come after a weeks-long summer campaign in which For America has targeted the lawmakers using the “chicken” videos and by urging its members (and the group’s 3.3 million fans on Facebook), to call Republican leaders’ offices to tell them to adopt the defund strategy.
All of the lawmakers targeted in the campaign except for Wicker are up for re-election in 2014, and conservative groups such as For America are threatening to use their votes against them if they support a spending bill that includes Obamacare funding.
“If they chicken out on this one last chance to block it, millions of conservatives will remember how they were betrayed by politicians who said one thing at home but did the opposite in Washington,” For America Chairman Brent Bozell said in a statement.
The latest campaign represents the final leg of a push that has split Republicans over how to work against President Barack Obama’s health insurance overhaul three years after he signed it into law. While some conservatives want to use the upcoming spending vote in their strategy to defund it, others in the party are skeptical that the strategy will be successful and are worried that Republicans will be blamed if the fight results in a government shutdown.
Many Republicans are considering an alternative plan to request a one-year delay of the health care law’s implementation, a strategy they believe has a better chance of success (and less political liability) than the defund tactic.