By Robbie Ward
TUPELO – U.S. Rep. Alan Nunnelee’s repeated statements that he voted to repeal, dismantle or defund Obamacare 40 times didn’t get the job done for a group of demonstrators Tuesday who gathered outside the 1st District congressman’s Tupelo office.
The dozen or so local Tea Party members believe the fight to prevent a federal law requiring individuals to have health insurance shouldn’t end when the law passed or even with failed attempts to repeal it. They want their congressional representative to vote against funding the law.
Gathered with “Don’t fund Obamacare” signs and Christian and “Don’t tread on me” flags, the group gathered on Main Street to “urge” the Congressman to support a joint U.S. House of Representatives and Senate resolution to leave out support for the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, in an appropriations bill to fund the federal government.
Monica Smith, a leader in the local Tea Party chapter, said she and others have encouraged Nunnelee to join fellow U.S. Rep. Steven Palazzo of Mississippi in supporting withholding federal funding of the health care law.
“We don’t want to shut down the government,” Smith said today. “We just don’t want to fund Obamacare.”
Jordan Russell, a spokesman for Nunnelee, said the congressman remains open to finding ways to eliminate the health care law.
“Congressman Nunnelee is 100 percent for repealing Obamacare because it is terrible for job creation, health care, and individual liberty,” Russell said in a statement. “He is reviewing all options, including H.J.Res. 62, for how to get it off the books while keeping the rest of the government open.”
Nunnelee said in an Aug. 22 editorial board meeting with the Daily Journal that he wouldn’t risk shutting down the federal government to prevent funding of the health care law signed into law by President Barack Obama in March 2010.
Critics of the law say it grants the federal government too much authority and costs too much. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2012 that most of the law was constitutional, clearing the way for much of it to be implemented in 2014.
Grant Sowell, another demonstrator in front of Nunnelee’s office Tuesday, said he believes the congressman has decided to stand by the wishes of congressional Republican leadership by not continuing to fight against the health care law.
“I think he’s a good man with a bad strategy,” Sowell said of Nunnelee. “He wants to play go ahead and get along with his leaders instead of standing with his constituents in Mississippi.”