The cross-country Tea Party campaign against the federal health-care law visited Raleigh on Wednesday with a small rally at a downtown hotel. The Tea Party Express political action committee was here to put pressure on North Carolina’s congressional delegation to take a stand by signing a letter vowing to block any legislation that funds the Affordable Care Act.
That poses the threat of shutting down the federal government, if enough members of congress take that stance, because it would certainly lead to a standoff over defunding "Obamacare."
A number of Republican members of congress, including those who oppose the health law but want to avoid a shutdown, have derided the letter campaign, including North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr, who called it “the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard.”
Tea Party Express Chairwoman Amy Kremer, responded to Burr in an interview after the event.
“I think it’s an insult to the people across America who don’t want Obamacare and believe that we send our representatives to work for us,” she said. “It’s an insult that he doesn’t work for us. By that comment, it shows right there that he is not listening to his constituents.”
U.S. Senate candidate Dr. Greg Brannon of Cary and Eastern North Carolina Tea Party director Karen Kozel also spoke at the rally, which drew about two dozen supporters and some TV cameras.
Kremer said the group was pushing to hold conservatives accountable, adding that the PAC hasn’t taken sides in North Carolina’s Senate race – yet. So far, Brannon is running against House Speaker Thom Tillis in the Republican primary for the seat held by Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan.
“We’re tired of these people who ride the Tea Party wave and then they get to Washington and collapse under pressure,” she said during the rally.
While the Tea Party Express has been holding similar events around the country, liberal groups like Protect Your Care have countered them with their own rallies and other public relations strategies. Protect Your Care has a North Carolina staff, which issued a rebuttal Wednesday:
"Any Senate candidate calling for a government shutdown is campaigning against children with pre-existing conditions and is willing to hold military pay hostage," said Candice Davies of Protect Your Care N.C. "Instead of acting like stubborn mules, why don't we work together to make Obamacare better."