Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and some of the tea party organizations that backed the government shutdown over Obamacare are capitalizing on division among Democrats after the rocky rollout of the new health care law.
They say that in light of problems with the rollout of Healthcare.gov and, on Thursday, President Barack Obama’s announcement that his administration will offer flexibility to people who received cancellation notices because their insurance plan does not comply with the Affordable Care Act, that the push to only fund the government if Obamacare was defunded is looking increasingly like a good idea.
“The defunding fight doesn’t look nearly as quixotic now, does it?” FreedomWorks Vice President for Public Policy Dean Clancy told TPM in an email on Thursday. “Given the law’s disastrous problems, I wouldn’t be surprised, if come next January, Congress revisits defunding in some form.”
Clancy continued that Obama’s announcement “confirms our sense that the defund effort was the right thing to do, and that we need to redouble our efforts to replace this law with targeted reforms that will actually lower health care costs over time by increasing patients’ and doctors’ freedom.”
FreedomWorks also released a statement saying the group planned to “double” its efforts to fully repeal Obamacare in light of recent events.
Similarly, Matt Hoskins, the executive director of the Senate Conservatives Fund sent out an email on Thursday titled “Ted Cruz Was Right About This.”
“Ted Cruz was right. Republicans should have refused to fund Obamacare,” Hoskins wrote in the email. “The president’s health law is an unmitigated disaster and now Democrats in Washington are running for political cover. If Republicans had listened to Mike Lee (R-UT) and Ted Cruz (R-TX), they could have won this fight and stopped Obamacare.”
Asked at the Aspen Institute’s Washington Ideas Forum by Fox News anchor Chris Wallace on Thursday whether the shutdown was worth it, Cruz said “absolutely.”
Referring to recent remarks by former President Bill Clinton that Obama should honor his promise on Americans keeping old health insurance policies, Cruz added that “Bill Clinton has extraordinary political instincts. It’s a little bit like the canary in the coal mine.”
Club For Growth and Heritage Action, groups that both backed efforts to defund or delay Obamacare implementation through the shutdown fight, declined requests for comment from TPM on Thursday.
The comments from Senate Conservatives Fund and FreedomWorks strongly contrast Republicans in the aftermath of the shutdown, when polling showed that House Republicans were shouldering most of the blame for it. After the shutdown, some Republicans said they had gone too far in going along with Cruz’s plan to demand to only fund the government if Obamacare was thoroughly gutted.
“I would say that in the end, he did more harm,” former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) said of Cruz just after the shutdown ended. “I think it was not his objective. I think his objective was a laudable one, I think he didn’t do a very good job in planning it out. I mean it’s one thing to have a goal, and another thing to have a plan to get you that goal.”