Supporters of the campaign to defund Obamacare are confident that every Senate Republican will support the continuing resolution the House plans to pass on Friday. Their immediate goal is to pressure Senate majority leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) to allow an up-or-down vote on the bill — with the defunding provision intact. ”The whole strategy behind this from the very beginning has been to isolate the funding of Obamacare, and get Senators on record supporting or opposing it in a bill that has teeth,” says one GOP aide. “That’s what we have now.”
Every GOP Senator has already voted, earlier this year, to repeal the unpopular health-care law, so the expectation is that none will dissent this time around, even if some Republicans aren’t convinced that tying Obamacare defunding to a continuing resolution is a good idea. “It doesn’t seem to make much sense to vote ‘no’ on a bill that contains the defund-ObamaCare provision,” Senator John Cornyn (R., Texas) told the Hill. “I don’t know anybody in our conference who’s for ObamaCare so I think they’d vote ‘yes’ to get on a bill to defund it.”
Those backing the defund effort also believe that some vulnerable Democrats may join them, even though no Democrats backed the earlier effort to repeal the law. The most likely outcome is that every Democrats will vote against defunding, which would allow Republicans to attack them for supporting an unpopular law.
For the moment, Senators Ted Cruz (R., Texas) and Mike Lee (R., Utah) are praising House speaker John Boehner’s (R., Ohio) “courageous” and “historic” decision to including Obamacare defunding in the House continuing resolution. But both have made clear that this fight won’t be over when the Senate rejects the House bill, and have urged House Republicans to “stand firm.” A big concern amongst the defund crowd is that once the Senate acts, the House will essentially throw in the towel, and move to pass a clean continuing resolution, presumably with Democratic votes. That would likely scuttle the fragile cease-fire.