WASHINGTON – Paul Ryan, the wonky Wisconsin GOP congressman, was standing next to Michelle Bachmann, the folksy Minnesota Republican.
And Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert, a constant thorn in the side of the House leadership, was in the camera shot behind House Speaker John Boehner.
Inside the Rayburn room on Friday right off the House floor, hundreds of House Republicans partook in a rare display of unity after the House passed a Republican-supported continuing resolution that funds the government while defunding Obamacare.
You don’t see the conference — known for its battles between its conservatives and its leadership — rally like this together very often. But the message of unity they were trying to get across together was clear after the House voted 230 to 189 on Friday to pass a continuing resolution that guts President Obama’s unpopular health-care bill.
As Boehner and the rest of the House leadership entered the room after Friday’s vote, the Republican members of Congress in attendance let out a hurrah of support.
“Our message to the United States Senate is real simple: the American people don’t want the government shut down,” Boehner said. “And they don’t want Obamacare.”
Added Boehner, as the conference roared in applause: “The House has listened to the American people. Now it’s time for the United States Senate listen to them as well.”
Under current law, the government is funded until Sept. 30, meaning a continuing resolution needs to be passed to keep the government from shutting down. But the House bill in its current form — by defunding Obamacare — is not expected to pass the Democratic-led Senate.
“Republicans are simply postponing for a few days the inevitable choice they must face: pass a clean bill to fund the government, or force a shutdown,” Senate majority leader Harry Reid, a Democrat, said after the vote.
The rally comes after weeks of differing opinions among House conservatives over the best strategy over the continuing resolution. Boehner and the House GOP leadership had not always favored this approach of tying Obamacare to a continuing resolution. But rank-and-file Republicans who strongly supported the plan won out, leading to Friday’s vote.
Over in the Senate, Republicans are already going on offense over tying Obamacare to the CR, a plan which conservative senators like Ted Cruz of Texas and Mike Lee of Utah have been pushing. Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran, the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, sent out a fundraising email praising the House vote.
“The Republican-led House of Representatives has acted, they’ve passed legislation that keeps the government open and enacts historic, common sense spending cuts,” Moran said. “The House has done its part. House Republicans have governed and put up a fight worthy of the challenges facing our nation.”
Moran laid out his argument against Senate Democrats, who have made clear they won’t support a continuing resolution that defunds Obamacare: “It’s the same old story. The Republican-led House actually passes legislation. The Senate Democrats do nothing. The media will call this ‘Congressional’ gridlock, but the reality is that the Senate Democrats are the ones who are failing to do anything but issue press releases.”