Heritage spin-off targets ObamaCare in first grassroots campaign

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Heritage Action for America, the Heritage Foundation’s new “grassroots advocacy organization,” launched its first national campaign Wednesday evening with Iowa Republican Rep. Steve King’s filing of a discharge petition aimed at repealing Obamacare.

King’s move would force House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, to bring his bill —  H.R. 4972, “To repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” — to the House floor. If his petition receives a of majority of House signatures, it would force an up-or-down vote on the legislation.

King’s discharge petition represents the newly minted Heritage Action for America’s first attempt at using the think tank’s large member base to pressure Congress to pass legislation.

Two months ago, the Heritage Foundation announced the creation of its new vehicle for conservative advocacy.

“What Heritage Action for America will offer are better ways to advance conservative policies at the grassroots level and to aggressively market our ideas,” Ed Feulner wrote on Heritage’s Morning Bell Blog. “Many organizations in Washington have gone in the opposite direction, establishing a think tank as a facade intended to add credibility to their political goals.”

Heritage Action for America’s Tim Chapman said the group will be backing King’s effort, putting pressure on House members to sign the petition via paid advertisements and grassroots lobbying.

According to Chapman, Heritage Action for America’s 661,000 members nationwide will be positioned to pressure a large swath of House members, specifically Blue Dog Democrats, to support King’s motion.

In a statement released by Heritage Action, Chief Executive Michael A. Needham praised King: “By filing a discharge petition to force a vote on repeal, Rep. King demonstrates an understanding that conservatives cannot wait for a new Congress to fight this hostile government takeover of our health care system.”

“We cannot have a country that lives in freedom and have Obamacare. They are not compatible,” King told the Heritage Foundation in late May.

As of Thursday morning, three House members had signed the petition: King, Rep. Connie Mack, Florida Republican, and Michele Bachmann, Minnesota Republican.