Tea Party supporters lashed out at Rep. Robert Pittenger at a town hall Monday after North Carolina Republican said he did not back current GOP-led efforts to defund the Affordable Care Act.
Responding to a question from the audience, Pittenger refused to support the defunding effort, despite including “overturn Obamacare” as one of the points in his campaign pledge:
Audience member: “The Tea Party wants to know: will you vote with Mike Lee and [Mark] Meadows to defund Obamacare? Yes or no?”
Pittenger: “Do you want the thoughtful answer?”
Audience member: “I want a yes or no.”
Pittenger went on to explain that, despite the House vote, there was not enough support in the Senate to advance the bill further.
“Why do you fight a battle you can’t win? We’d lose over there, then they’d come back to us in the House,” Pittenger said. ”We look at your battle, but we look at every battle and how we can win. How do we get the Democrats on defense? We passed ‘no budget, no pay.’ What did that do? That forced them to go back to pass the first budget they’d written in four years…It turned the debate around.”
Members of the audience were not pleased with Pittenger’s attempt at an explanation for his first answer, demanding Republicans to “take a stand” in order to help “get our country back.”
“Do you think Harry Reid is going to pass that in the Senate?” Pittenger challenged.
“It doesn’t matter what Harry Reid is, we need to show the American people we stand for conservative values,” a woman fired back as the room burst into applause.
But Pittenger didn’t back down, telling the audience, “I am a co-sponsor with Mr. Meadows, ok? I’m a co-sponsor. But let me just tell you: the reality is it’s not gonna happen…I’d love to see it happen, but it’s not there.”
Pittenger is not the first Republican leader to face questions about the Affordable Care Act so far during Congress’ August recess. Illinois Rep. Aaron Schock was also asked about voting to repeal the healthcare law during a town hall recently, but was met with much less animosity.
Watch the full exchange from Rep. Robert Pittenger’s Youtube channel: