Heritage Foundation president and former Republican senator Jim DeMint suggested Monday that President Barack Obama may actually sign a bill that would defund his signature piece of legislation.
Participating in a town hall in Fayetteville, Ark., the first stop of Heritage Action's planned nine-city tour to promote the effort to defund Obamacare, DeMint was asked why Republicans should push legislation to gut the new federal health care law "when we know that President Obama won't sign it."
"Well, we don't know that, do we?" DeMint replied.
The former South Carolina senator told NPR, which aired audio from the town hall, that Republicans who fear a showdown with Obama over the new health care law should be voted out.
"I think [Obama] knows that Republicans are afraid and if they are they need to be replaced," DeMint said.
Republican leaders on Capitol Hill have splashed cold water on the effort pushed by lawmakers like Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) to attempt to defund the health care law and risk a government shutdown. Following similar remarks by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) correctly pointed out last week that a government shutdown will not halt Obamacare. But conservative activists have pushed back at the GOP leadership.
The DeMint-founded Senate Conservatives Fund launched a statewide campaign last week intended to make McConnell (R-KY) “feel the heat” on Obamacare. A video released this week by the Brent Bozell-run conservative activist group ForAmerica likened McConnell to a chicken for his objections to the defunders. Meanwhile, McConnell has been excoriated by his tea party challenger Matt Bevin for not standing with Cruz and Rubio.