GOP Senators Rail Against Obamacare Before Obama Meeting

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Jose Luis Magana / AP

Sen. Ted Cruz R-Texas pauses while speaking at the Values Voter Summit, held by the Family Research Council Action, Friday, Oct. 11, 2013, in Washington.

Opposition to Obamacare sparked the government shutdown now entering its 10th day. But it has taken a back seat in recent talks between Republican leaders and President Obama about how to end the effort. Just don’t expect the conservative rank and file to forget about it anytime soon.

At a Friday morning summit of religious conservatives in Washington, Republican senators, who were scheduled to meet with Obama later in the day, took turns throwing out red-meat lines about the horribleness of the law. Sen.Ted Cruz (R-Texas) called Obamacare a “disaster” and a “trainwreck” that violates the Constitution before commending the House of Representatives for “standing strong” amid the government shutdown. Sen.Tim Scott (R-S.C.) said President Obama “didn’t even like the Obamacare law, so he delayed portions of the law for a year.” He added, “We deserve better.”

“We must stop it. We must defund it. We cannot accept it,” said Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah). “We make no apologies. We stand with you.” Conservative radio talk show host Mark Levin called the law a “direct assault on religious liberties,” and the conference attendees were encouraged to flood Congressional phone lines with calls to stop Obamacare.

The event, the 8th annual Value Voters Summit held at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in northwest Washington, was disrupted repeatedly by liberal protesters, who were drowned out by boos and chants of “U.S.A., U.S.A” as they were lead from the room by security. “Is anybody left at the Organizing for America headquarters?” Cruz jokingly asked as a a group of hecklers spread throughout the room were escorted out.Throughout the week, civil rights and LGBT rights groups bashed the conference for being “anti-gay.” A coalition of groups sent letters to members of Congress , urging them not to attend the event due to the organizers previous statements denouncing gays, lesbians, and other minority groups.Not all senators who spoke at the gathering evoked Obamacare. Senators Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.), however, both of whom have shown interest in 2016 Presidential runs, chose instead to address the crowd from a faith perspective. “With all this fighting that’s going on, out biggest fear is that we’re losing focus on the biggest issues that face our nation,” Rubio said. “The fundamental truth is that you cannot have a strong economy if it’s not built on strong values.”

Paul addressed a worldwide “war on Christianity,” saying America needs to stop sending tax dollars to those around the world in countries where citizens have condemned Christians.