Renee Ellmers: For Defunding Obamacare with a CR Before She Was Against It

by Jonathan Strong

Republican representative Renee Ellmers took to Twitter today to bash conservative lobbying outfit Heritage Action and its strategy of trying to defund Obamacare with the next continuing resolution.

“Should we stop #Obamacare? YES! But @Heritage_Action’s strategy w/ Continuing Resolution is WRONG,” she said. Why, Ellmers asked, is Heritage Action spending $550,000 to attack “conservatives” and not using it to attack Democratic senator Kay Hagan, “who was the deciding vote on Obamacare?”

Then, the North Carolina Republican twisted the knife, relayign a question about the group’s integrity. “‘Those groups only care about raising money, they want Reps back in the minority in the House’ – comment to me re: @Heritage_Action,” she said.

Ellmers is certainly not alone in her view that making the next CR a do-or-die fight over Obamacare funding is unwise. But one person who would disagree with her is Renee Ellmers, circa 2011.

In a “Bloggers Briefing” at none other than the Heritage Foundation, Ellmers told an audience in March 2011 she would push GOP leadership to use a continuing-resolution bill to defund Obamacare.

Heritage’s Robert Bluey asked Ellmers about specific amendments to defund Obamacare and Planned Parenthood that weren’t in a two-week stop-gap bill the House had just passed and asked, “Are those issues that you’re going to push leadership on . . .”

But before Bluey could even finish his question, Ellmers interrupted to say, “Absolutely!” She went on to defend the relatively modest spending cuts that had been in the stop-gap measure. (Audio is here beginning at the 6:50 mark.)

While the issue (defunding Obamacare) and the legislative vehicle (a continuing resolution) are the exact same then as they are now, two years have since passed, and an Ellmers spokesman said the circumstances are now different. 

“The situation you are referring to took place in March of 2011 right after Republicans had taken control of the House in a historic election. Since that time, President Obama has won reelection and Democrats have held onto their majority in the U.S. Senate. Things would be very different now if Mitt Romney had won the presidency and Republicans gained control of the Senate, but unfortunately they didn’t,” the spokesman said. 

And Ellmers’ years in Washington, D.C., may have given her additional perspective on the matter.

Perhaps more than any other member of the tea-party class of 2010, she has embraced the strategic decisions of Speaker John Boehner and the House leadership team with gusto. Although elected with virtually no party support and zero political experience besides her participation at anti-Obamacare rallies, Ellmers was surprised, upon entering Congress, to find herself impressed by Boehner.

“There is just a lot of mistrust Americans have for ‘those people in Washington,’ ” she told the New York Times, adding with a laugh, “and now I am one of those people in Washington.”

“Congresswoman Ellmers ran for public office because of the terrible damage Obamacare will do to our country and her desire to stop it from being implemented. Nothing has changed in this regard and she has voted over 40 times to repeal or destroy this terrible law that will destroy our health-care system and is already showing its negative impact on jobs and businesses. Congresswoman Ellmers believes that threatening to shutdown the government in order to defund Obamacare is a misguided tactic and will only replace one economic disaster with another one, and she is not willing to jeopardize the economic security of the United States in order lose a battle with the Democrats who control the White House and the U.S. Senate,” her spokesman added.