Obamacare Fight Gets Too Hot For Kochs: We're Not Backing GOP's Shutdown Tactics

As the government shutdown moved into the ninth day on Wednesday, even conservative billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch appeared to be abandoning Republican lawmakers who were trying to use the tactic to derail the president's health care law.
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As the government shutdown moved into the ninth day on Wednesday, even conservative billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch appeared to be abandoning Republican lawmakers who were trying to use the tactic to derail the president's health care law.

NBC's Michael Isikoff reported that Koch Industries, which is privately owned by the activist brothers, sent a letter to members of Congress, insisting that "Koch has not taken a position on the legislative tactic of tying the continuing resolution to defunding Obamacare nor have we lobbied on legislative provisions defunding Obamacare."

Phillip Ellender, the company's president of Government and Public Affairs, instead declared that the company had put its emphasis on "reducing our nation's debt and controlling runaway government spending" with the hopes of never needing to raise the debt ceiling again in the future.

"Congress should focus on these efforts: balancing the budget, tightening and cutting government spending, curbing cronyism, and eliminating market-distorting subsidies and mandates," Ellender wrote.

The letter was prompted by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's (D-NV) charge on the Senate floor on Tuesday that the Koch brothers "have been raising and spending hundreds of millions of dollars to get us to where we are right now."

Isikoff told MSNBC's Tamron Hall that the Koch Industries letter was fascinating because groups funded by the Koch brothers had spent more than $200 million in an effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

And those groups had pushed the tactic of "defunding the government as a wedge to get Obamacare defunded," Isikoff explained. "Now, here we have the Koch brothers, who in some ways helped foster that movement, saying, 'Whoa, slow down, we're not there, that's not what we think Congress should be focusing on.'"

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