House GOP leaders resort to legislative trickery on ObamaCare

House Republican leaders have finally relented to growing pressure from grassroots conservative activists to defund ObamaCare — only they haven’t.

Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) will push a stop-gap spending measure as well as a separate resolution that would defund ObamaCare. It would allow members to say that they voted to deny funding to the unpopular law while avoiding a feared government shutdown.

“Under the Cantor plan, the House would vote on two measures, the [Continuing Resolution] and a resolution that amends the CR to defund Obamacare,” wrote Jonathan Strong at National Review. “Both measures would be brought under a rule that allows the Senate to send just the clean CR to the president, but only after they first vote on whether to defund Obamacare.

“If the Senate voted against defunding Obamacare, they could then pass the clean CR,” he added. “While this would force a politically difficult vote for Democratic senators, it isn’t the do-or-die fight that many on the right envisioned.”

Politico noted yesterday that this is the same legislative sleight of hand that House Republicans used during spending battles in the spring of 2011. They also point out that House Republican leaders may be “forced to go further to the right and commit the bill outright to defunding [ObamaCare]” if there is strong pushback from conservatives in the House GOP Conference.

While this play may be popular among House Republicans looking for a way to avoid a government shutdown, conservative groups are blasting the gambit, saying it’s a poor excuse for satire.

“Are these news reports from The Onion? Or are they real? said Club for Growth President Chris Chocola in statement early Monday evening. “When members were at home over recess, did they hear their constituents ask for legislative tricks or principled leadership? Trying to fool Republicans into voting to fund Obamacare is even worse than offering a bill that deliberately funds it.”

“I hope this proposal is nothing more than a bad joke and is quickly discarded,” added Chocola. “Republicans should simply do what they say they are for by passing a Continuing Resolution that doesn’t fund Obamacare.”

That sentiment is sure to be shared among other conservative groups that pushed hard during the August recess to build momentum to defund ObamaCare. It seems that Republicans have, once again, surrendered the legislative battle over ObamaCare without so much as a fight.

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