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House GOP pushes defund Obamacare bill; conservative group calls it 'smoke and mirrors'

House Republican leadership aides say they are currently whipping a bill that would extend government funding until mid-December, averting a government shutdown, as well as force the Senate to vote on whether they support defunding the Affordable Care Act. 

The move comes after Republicans discussed the strategy during their weekly House GOP Conference meeting this morning, and more members spoke in support of the plan than spoke in opposition, aides say. If leadership finds they have the support to pass the bill with just Republican votes, they could vote as early as Thursday.

Aides have admitted they will have to pass the bill with almost entirely Republican votes, with a few Democrats who are in tough districts supporting the bill as well. Government funding is currently scheduled to expire on Sept. 30th if Congress fails to act.

But the conservative group, Club for Growth, has sent a letter to members of Congress asking them to OPPOSE the proposal, saying it equates to "a 'smoke and mirrors' strategy that avoids the issue." (Full letter below)

The Republicans' strategy would use a legislative tool that would pass the Continuing Resolution (CR) out of the House with a bill attached to it that would defund the Affordable Care Act. Once the bill is transmitted to the Senate, that chamber would then have to vote on the bill to defund Obamacare BEFORE they were able to vote on the CR.

If the bill defunding Obamacare fails in the Senate, but the CR passes, it would then go directly to the president for his signature. One of the key stipulations in the legislation, for Republicans, is that it would continue funding at current sequestration levels, something Democrats have said they oppose.

Here's a breakdown of the plan, per a GOP leadership aide:

1) The House simultaneously considers a CR at sequester levels AND a H.Con.Res. that would amend the CR to include defunding language.

2) The vote on passage of the CR is also on passage of the H.Con.Res. (defunding).

3) Upon passage, the Clerk of the House sends the defunding language to the Senate.

4) The rule for the CR/Defund package provides that the CR can not be transmitted to the Senate until the Senate has considered the defunding language.

5) If the Senate passes defunding then it gets added to the CR as it goes to the President. If they defeat it, then the Senate can consider whether they want to pass the CR. If they do, without amendment it goes to the President.

CLUB FOR GROWTH LETTER:

Everyone,

The Club for Growth urges all House members to vote "NO" on the rule for the FY14 Continuing Resolution (H.J.Res.___). Consideration of the bill is scheduled for later this week. The vote on the rule will be included in the Club's 2013 Congressional Scorecard.

For several weeks now, the Club has urged lawmakers to defund ObamaCare in the FY14 continuing resolution. Rather than fight to defund ObamaCare, or to even have an honest debate about it, House leaders have decided to go with a "smoke and mirrors" strategy that avoids the issue. Therefore, we urge lawmakers to oppose the rule.

Our Congressional Scorecard for the 113th Congress provides a comprehensive rating of how well or how poorly each member of Congress supports pro-growth, free-market policies and will be distributed to our members and to the public.

Here are the HTML  and PDF  versions of this alert.

If you have any questions, please let me know.

Andy