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Thursday
Aug012013

Plans to Defund, Defend ‘Obamacare’ Signal August of Discontent

Drew Angerer/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- August is looking like another political scorcher this year.

Lawmakers heading home to their states and districts Thursday would be wise to brace themselves for an onslaught of activism aimed squarely at them in their town hall meetings.

Liberals and conservatives are pitched in battle over the issue of funding President Obama’s beleagered health care law.

Conservative groups Thursday announced that they are throwing everything they have at the effort to build support for proposals in the House and Senate to defund “Obamacare” at the same time that Congress approves funding for the entire federal government.

The proposal has drawn strong opposition from Democrats, who say Republicans are threatening to shut down the government over a far-fetched plan to defund the law. And even some Republicans simply don’t believe the effort will succeed.

“If in the next 60 days, hundreds of thousands or millions of Americans stand up and demand their elected officials do the right thing, that will change this public policy debate in Washington,” Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Tex., said Thursday.

The coalition, which includes the Tea Party Patriots, Christian conservative group Family Research Council Action, Heritage Action, Club for Growth and FreedomWorks, is banking on building pressure from the conservative wing of the Republican Party to overcome critics of the defunding plan within their own party.

“If we get 41 Republicans to stand together in the Senate, 218 Republican to stand together in House, we can win this fight,” said Cruz, who is the sponsor of the Senate’s bill. “Not another symbolic vote, which we’ve had far too many of, but this is where the rubber meets the road.”

The conservative group FreedomWorks, which tallies a scorecard rating lawmakers on their votes in order to help determine which candidates the organization will support, announced that it will double count support for a letter championed by Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, which commits them to only approving funding for the government if it also defunds the health care law.

“It’s kind of all or nothing, because I think if we do our job and force people to sign a letter then it’ll get a vote,” FreedomWorks President Matt Kibbe told ABC News.

And they will encourage their 6 million members to head out to their members’ town hall meetings, as well.

And Heritage Action will launch a “defund Obamacare Tour,” along with Cruz and his father, Rafael Cruz.

But these groups aren’t alone.

Democrats have also organized to counter anti-Obamacare efforts with an offensive campaign-style strategy to defend and promote the law in 10 states this month.

Americans United for Change and Protect Your Care, two groups run by former Democratic Party and labor union officials, have teamed up to lead the effort.

“We will deploy every tool and tactic at our disposal to accomplish these goals, including events with supportive members, administration officials, protests at Republican events, editorial meetings, social media events press releases, op-eds, videos, emails, and even in some cases ads,” Americans United for Change President Brad Woodhouse told reporters Thursday.

They’ve hired consultants to lead the efforts in North Carolina, Texas, Ohio, Wisconsin, Florida, Georgia, Michigan,  Pennsylvania, Illinois and Louisiana.

“Republicans again tomorrow, in fact, are going to hold their 40th vote to repeal Obamacare,” Woodhouse said. “It is absolutely stunning that as the support for repeal continues to decline, Republicans make it the only thing they want to do in Congress.”

Tea party groups also plan to fan out at Town Hall meetings across the country and organize “street rallies” aimed at putting pressure on members to oppose funding the Obama health care plan.

Could the meetings get heated like they did three years ago, during the tea party’s rise in 2010? Maybe.

“Heated debate is what the first amendment is all about and as Americans we all want peaceable debate, especially in America,” Tea Party Patriots national coordinator Jenny Beth Martin said.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio