FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — A conservative group will spend $340,000 on a TV ad in Kentucky to try to pressure Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell to defund federal health care reforms before they kick in Oct. 1.
The Senate Conservatives Fund purchased air time extending from Friday through Sept. 17.
“Mitch McConnell is the key to stopping Obamacare,” said the group’s executive director, Matt Hoskins. “Republicans in the Senate have the power to defeat funding for Obamacare, but they won’t use it if their leader tells them to surrender. This is a big test for Mitch McConnell.”
The Senate Conservatives Fund, founded by former South Carolina Republican Sen. Jim DeMint, already has been running a radio spot in Kentucky calling on McConnell to oppose any money for President Barack Obama’s health care law even if it means triggering a government shutdown.
McConnell campaign manager Jesse Benton had harsh words Thursday for the Senate Conservatives Fund, saying “there are few organizations in American politics more responsible for the Democratic majority in the U.S. Senate, and thus the continued existence of Obamacare.”
“It’s no surprise that now, when it comes time for conservatives to band together and fight this horrible law, they’ve instead chosen to attack fellow conservatives rather than work alongside to protect Americans from the effects of Obamacare,” Benton said.
Republican leaders of the House and Senate worry about the political impact of a government shutdown while tea party conservatives are willing to do so to undermine the health care law. Appropriations have to be made by the time the federal fiscal year ends Sept. 30 to avoid a shutdown of government agencies and services.
The 30-second TV ad is just the latest jab at McConnell, who has been trading political punches with GOP primary foe Matt Bevin and Democratic front-runner Alison Lundergan Grimes.
In the ad, a narrator insists that Congress can stop “Obamacare.”
“What’s Mitch McConnell doing? Nothing,” the narrator says. “McConnell’s the Senate Republican Leader, but he refuses to lead on defunding Obamacare. What good is a leader like that? It’s nice that McConnell voted against Obamacare, but we need real leadership to stop it now. Tell Mitch McConnell to join the fight to stop Obamacare, before it’s too late.”
McConnell campaign spokeswoman Allison Moore didn’t immediately comment on the latest ad.
The Senate Conservatives Fund hasn’t endorsed anyone in Kentucky’s primary. But in a statement in July, Hoskins said the group was open to backing Bevin.
The group has spent nearly $50,000 on a 60-second radio spot in Kentucky. That was part of nearly $200,000 the group spent on similar ads in a half-dozen other states calling on GOP senators to refuse to fund the health care law.
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