With Republicans in Congress divided over whether to try to defund Obamacare as part of a larger government funding bill, the tea party is pushing for more GOP members to sign on to the plan.
At least 12 of the Senate's 46 Republicans have signed a letter being circulated by Sen. Mike Lee of Utah saying they will refuse to support a federal spending bill, which will be needed to keep government agencies funded after Sept. 30, if it includes money for the Affordable Care Act, reports the Wall Street Journal
Lee and his Republican supporters gathered on the Senate floor Tuesday, urging the public to call on their senators to back the idea.
"Truly, our last option is to stop paying for this thing," said Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida. "If we are not willing to draw a line on this issue, what issue are we willing to draw a line in the sand on?"
Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas agreed, telling reporters, "We either stand for principle now, or, I believe, we surrender to Obamacare permanently."
Other conservative opponents of the healthcare reform law don't think it is the correct strategy. Minority Whip John Cornyn of Texas, who withdrew his signature from the Senate letter last week
, argued that cutting off funding would not derail the law because money for the program comes from other sources.
"You cannot design a piece of legislation that will defund Obamacare," he told the Journal.
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky has also declined to sign the letter.
Meanwhile, two national tea party organizations, Tea Party Patriots and For America, reportedly sent a letter this week to Senate Republicans, warning, "We are unable to support any elected official who votes in favor of continued funding."
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