Many 2016 GOP Hopefuls United on Defunding Obamacare

Saturday, 17 Aug 2013 03:39 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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Many of the Republicans considering a run for the presidency in 2016 share the same goal — to defund Obamacare, no matter what.

According to a survey of potential candidates conducted by The Hill, seven potential GOP candidates want Obamacare defunded, even if it means a government shutdown. Others say they don't want to go that far,

Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida; Ted Cruz of Texas; Rand Paul of Kentucky and John Thune of South Dakota, have all backed a plan by fellow Sen. Mike Lee of Utah to vote down any bill that funds Obamacare. 

Many are even willing to accept a government shutdown if Obamacare funding remains in effect. Their calls are echoed by Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Iowa Rep. Steve King and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.

“Shutting down Obamacare is essential for the economy, for quality healthcare and for our freedom,” said Jindal press secretary Sean Lansing. “We are for using any and every tool to do that.”

However, other possible contenders in the growing field of potential Republican presidential candidates are not willing to go so far as a government shutdown.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, also of Wisconsin, say they favor a repeal over a government shutdown to stop Obamacare.

Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H. and New York Rep. Pete King also oppose drastic measures.

King called the shutdown threat a "shakedown tactic" that is like "basically holding a gun to the head of the administration."

Govs. Chris Christie of New Jersey; John Kasich, of Ohio and Nikki Haley of South Carolina, and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush did not respond to calls about the survey.

Ohio Sen. Rob Portman said he is looking at various ways to bring the government's budget in order, and a spokeswoman for Texas Gov. Rick Perry did not mention the shutdown threat in her statement.

New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez said she does not support Obamacare, but added, "it's the law of the land. The election is over and the Supreme Court has ruled."

None of the potential GOP candidates have announced their intentions publicly to date.

Christie and Jindal have both said it's too early to announce whether they plan to run in 2016. Paul, meanwhile, has made visits to key states such as New Hampshire, Iowa and South Carolina. Ryan has been upfront in saying he's considering a campaign.

Meanwhile, Rubio says a presidential campaign hasn't crossed his mind, and Bush said he will not make his decision for another year.

All of the candidates have been making personal appearances, announcing book plans and conducting activities that point toward future campaigns.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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