On Wednesday morning, Heritage Action CEO Mike Needham mapped out a path to victory over Obamacare.
Needham said that Heritage Action would accept a short-term bill to raise the debt limit that doesn't defund or amend Obamacare. "We’d give the speaker some flexibility on a short-term debt limit increase," Needham told reporters gathered at a breakfast meeting sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor.
But Heritage Action remains opposed to any bill to fund the entire government if it doesn't stop Obamacare. A deal to delay Obamacare's individual mandate would be "insufficient," Needham said. Simply repealing the medical device tax would be a "laughably bad" example of cronyism, he added. "The only acceptable way out of this is some sort of deal that funds the federal government without funding Obamacare."
And how will Republicans achieve this goal? "I think that over the course of the next weeks President Obama will feel pain" because of the shutdown, Needham said.
Passing bills in the House to fund a variety of programs--such as Head Start, NIH, veterans benefits, WIC--is "a great strategy" in Needham's opinion. "Inevitably at some point I think the pressure on the Senate to fund veterans will cause them to do it," he said.
But if the most vital parts of government are funded, wouldn't that decrease the pressure to defund Obamacare?
"If we want to sit in a government shutdown for the next several weeks over at the NRLB and the EPA…I'm perfectly happy to sit in that situation until the president stops this unaffordable and unfair law," Needham said.
Why would President Obama permanently defund his signature health care law in order to fully fund agencies like the EPA and NRLB (whose furloughed employees will certainly receive back pay when the shutdown ends)?
"That is the situation that he will find himself in," Needham replied. "And then he'll have to choose between various important constituencies."