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This month marks the third anniversary of FreedomWorks’ endorsement of Rep. Renee Ellmers during her very first campaign for the U.S. House. Ironically, Rep. Ellmers decided to commemorate the anniversary by putting a knife in the back of the conservatives who support defunding Obamacare.
In response to a question she received at a town hall this past week, Rep. Ellmers tried to explain that her low ratings from conservative organizations had nothing to do with her voting with Democrats to expand the size of government, but suggested that she was being unfairly singled out by groups like the Heritage Foundation and FreedomWorks. She explained:
“I know many of you are followers of Heritage. I was too... The problem is they score against things -- Republicans -- but they're kind of hypocrites when they do it. Because they pick and choose what they're going to score, whether that's a piece of legislation... or a letter to leadership. But when members of Congress that they work with closely are supporting pieces of legislation that they oppose, they conveniently do not score against those.”
Ellmers failed to touch on why she thought she had a poor relationship with the Heritage Foundation. That wasn’t always the case; she had no problem with showing up for a Bloggers’ Briefing at Heritage in 2011 and telling her audience what it wanted to hear. Recalls Jonathan Strong of National Review Online:
“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!’”
Yet today, Ellmers has a dismal 57 percent rating with Heritage Action, and a 50 percent rating with FreedomWorks. In explaining her Heritage rating to one person in attendance at her town hall, Ellmers made the bizarre suggestion that conservative groups gave her poor ratings in order to raise money:
“Yeah Steve, my score with Heritage Action isn't that great, 57 percent, it's above 50 percent, but you're putting all of your weight into an organization that one, raises money, and has to continue to raise money to stay relevant. And they pick and choose who they're going to target and who they don't.”
Ellmers continued to try and make her case by saying she wasn’t the only member of Congress who supported funding Obamacare:
“Most recently, [Rep.] Mark Meadows (R-NC), our colleague here in North Carolina, had a letter going to leadership [supporting defunding] through the Continuing Resolution. I am not on that. A number of members are not on that. I believe there are only 80 who are on it. The problem is that there are a hundred of us who they've targeted.”
Wrapping it up, Ellmers attacked FreedomWorks and misled her audience by telling them that Obamacare could not be defunded through the Continuing Resolution:
“My question is, why did you go to [Sen.] Richard Burr's (R-NC) office... this is FreedomWorks, why did you go to Richard Burr’s office and protest about Obamacare but you didn’t go to [Sen.] Kay Hagan’s (D-NC), and she was the deciding vote for Obamacare in the Senate? I cannot help the fact that we cannot defund Obamacare through the CR."
To say that Obamacare cannot be defunded through the Continuing Resolution is inaccurate. As FreedomWorks has previously detailed, the Continuing Resolution, which allows funding for the one-third of federal spending that is annually appropriated, expires on September 30. It is the last opportunity to defund Obamacare before its full implementation on January 1.
In describing why Rep. Ellmers once opposed Obamacare but now supports funding it, her spokesman explained that “Since , President Obama has won reelection and Democrats have held onto their majority in the U.S. Senate.”
With elected Republicans willing to attack proponents of limited government, fund the Democrats’ agenda, and do the Democrats’ work for them by misleading their constituents, it’s little wonder that Democrats continue to win. If Rep. Ellmers doesn’t want to be a part of the solution, she should get out of the way.