LOUISVILLE, Ky (WHAS11) -- A GOP congressional dispute between tea party lawmakers and other Republicans is rearing its head in Kentucky's Republican Senate primary. Candidate Matt Bevin is challenging U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to join him in signing a pledge to repeal "Obamacare," the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
Though Republicans are unified in their opposition to the health care law, the push led by Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) to oppose any budget bill which funds Obamacare could threaten to shut down the government if Congress cannot pass a budget deal by a September 30 deadline.
"Mitch McConnell's rhetoric on defeating Obamacare is nothing but empty promises," Bevin said in a statement. "Obamacare is a disaster and if we can't repeal it, we have a responsibility to the American people to defund it."
McConnell's campaign manager fired back at Bevin.
"When Senator McConnell became the first lawmaker to launch coordinated opposition to Obamacare back in 2009, political opportunist Matt 'Bailout' Bevin was busy racking up tax liens on his business and million dollar New England vacation home," said McConnell campaign manager Jesse Benton. "There isn't a single member of Congress who has fought Obamacare harder or longer than Mitch McConnell and he has repeatedly said if he has the opportunity to defund or repeal the law he will not hesitate."
Yet Bevin insists that McConnell's voting record contradicts his stated opposition because McConnell voted for the 2013 funding bill that contained funding for the law. Bevin also claims that McConnell is working behind the scenes to stymie Lee's defunding proposal.
"I challenge Mitch McConnell to join me in signing the pledge to defund Obamacare. Instead of playing political games, it's time to stand up for the people of Kentucky."