Republican threats of a government shutdown to defund healthcare reform has caused a rift between GOP leaders and conservative Republicans.
Those threats could turn into reality now that House Republican leaders delayed a vote on a bill that would avert a government shutdown in order to take more time to build support for a new proposal to defund the law, NBC News reported. House Republicans' proposal would fund all government agencies through Dec. 15 but also would include a measure to cut off funds to the Affordable Care Act.
In proposing the plan, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) told Republican lawmakers in a closed-door meeting that Americans "want to stop this law--but they don't want to shut down the government," the Los Angeles Times reported.
"I'm willing to take on all of the bad karma of funding all the things I don't agree with just to get Obamacare defunded," second-term Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) told the LA Times.
A vote on the bill planned for Thursday will now take place next week. However, rank-and-file conservative Republicans doubt Boehner can round up the votes in the Senate to defund the ACA.
Moreover, conservative Republicans call the new proposal, which does not directly tie government funding to the ACA, a "gimmick" as the Senate could reject the healthcare measure and vote only to pass the government-funding bill, according to the LA Times.
Adding to the clash, House leaders say the Senate's anti-healthcare reformers have yet to come up with a better plan than the House's proposal, according to NBC News.
Regardless of the friction within the Republican party, White House aides say President Obama would veto any bill that defunds the reform law.
Obama's approach likely has public support, given a survey last week from the Morning Consult found defunding and delaying healthcare reform is the least popular option, with only 6 percent of registered voters--including only 7 percent of Republicans--favoring this strategy.