The Hill

By Elise Viebeck and Molly K. Hooper
07/30/13 09:06 PM ET

The Republican civil war on ObamaCare funding is intensifying.

The battle pits powerful rank-and-file freshmen such as Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) against veteran Washington players, including Karl Rove, Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) and Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.).

Cole told The Hill it would be “political suicide” for his party to get behind a strategy from Rubio, Cruz and Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), adding that it could cost House Republicans their majority.

Many in the Tea Party are urging GOP leaders not to pass any government funding measure that pays for the implementation of ObamaCare. The White House and congressional Democrats have long scoffed at such requests.

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) have been non-committal on their strategy. However, they have previously signed off on deals that funded ObamaCare implementation.

The issue is particularly sensitive for McConnell, who is facing a primary challenge.

Congress has about 60 days to pass a bill that keeps the government running. But with the August recess looming, there will only be about a dozen or so legislative days to deal with this issue before the end of the fiscal year, on Sept. 30.

The GOP brinkmanship strategy has drawn strong opposition from establishment players, such as McCain, who recently said “most Americans are really tired of those kinds of shenanigans here in Washington.”

Republicans backing ObamaCare defunding strategy
•Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas)
•Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.)
•Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.)
•Tea Party Patriots National Coordinator Jenny Beth Martin
•RedState editor Erick Erickson
•Conservative talk show host Mark Levin

Republicans against ObamaCare defunding strategy
•Sen. John McCain (Ariz.)
•Sen. Bob Corker (Tenn.)
•Sen. Tom Coburn (Okla.)
•Rep. Tom Cole (Okla.)
•GOP strategist Karl Rove
•Conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer

In the other corner, talk show radio hosts and right-leaning groups — including Mark Levin, the Club for Growth and Heritage Action — say the GOP must show backbone.

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