Texas senator tells GOP: No Obamacare surrender
By Caren Bohan, ReutersORLANDO, Florida -- Texas Senator Ted Cruz, who is leading a conservative push to eliminate funding for President Barack Obama's new health care law, took his fight on Saturday to a forum of Republican activists where he challenged lawmakers in his party not to “surrender” on Obamacare.
September 2, 2013, 11:38 am TWN
Cruz, a potential 2016 Republican presidential candidate, used a speech to an Americans for Prosperity conference in Orlando, Florida, to take to task those in his party who are wary of risking a possible government shutdown in an effort to fight Obama's signature health care law.
“Right now, the people who are fighting the hardest against our effort to defund Obamacare, sadly, are Republicans,” Cruz told several hundred activists. “Well, you know what: you lose 100 percent of the fight if you surrender at the outset.”
To loud applause, he added that Republicans should “stand up and win the argument.”
Congress, which returns to Washington on Sept. 9 after a summer break, faces two budget fights in quick succession.
Lawmakers must pass a spending bill by Oct. 1 to avoid a government shutdown. By mid-October, they must pass an increase in the country's borrowing limit or risk a default on the debt.
Cruz is among a group of conservative lawmakers who want to use the first showdown — over a bill to keep the government funded — to try to block Obamacare.
But many congressional Republicans, including House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, disagree with that approach even though they too oppose Obamacare.
Republicans, who control the House of Representatives, have repeatedly tried to repeal the 2010 health care law.
Implementation for a major part of the law will begin on Oct. 1, when health care insurance marketplaces, known as exchanges, will be rolled out in the states.
Obama's Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is expected to extend federally subsidized health coverage to an estimated 7 million uninsured Americans in 2014 through the marketplaces. Republicans contend the law will be a burden on businesses and cost jobs.
The two-day gathering in Orlando of Americans for Prosperity, a conservative group backed by billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, was titled “Defending the American Dream.”
Three other possible 2016 White House contenders addressed the forum on Friday: Florida Senator Marco Rubio, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and Texas Governor Rick Perry.
Rubio also focused his speech on a call to eliminate funding for Obamacare. He got strong applause for that view but faced some heckling over his support for immigration reform, even though he did not raise that issue in his speech.