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Buck, Hill support Cruz’s ‘defund Obamacare’ filibuster effort

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DENVER — Two of the three Republican candidates seeking to take on Colorado Sen. Mark Udall, a Democrat, next fall have signed onto a petition supporting efforts to de-fund President Barack Obama’s landmark health care law, which is being implemented in the months ahead.

Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck, who was the GOP nominee against Sen. Michael Bennet in 2010, and state Sen. Owen Hill have both signed on to a pledge supporting conservatives in Congress like Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, who have vowed to continue fighting to cut off funding of the Affordable Care Act.

It appears as though they also support the effort by Cruz and other conservative Republicans in Congress to risk a government shutdown by tying the defund Obamcare provision to a spending bill that must pass before Oct. 1.

Neither Buck nor Hill’s campaigns returned FOX31 Denver’s phone calls requesting comment; but Buck left little doubt about his support for Cruz with a tweet this afternoon aiming to pressure Udall to #StandWithCruz.

Cruz began a quixotic filibuster on the Senate floor Tuesday afternoon, vowing to speak “in support of defunding Obamacare until I am no longer able to stand.”

But the filibuster is little more than political theater aimed at scoring points with the GOP base (notably, a couple of 2016 GOP presidential hopefuls — Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul — have made a point of joining Cruz on the floor in support of the filibuster).

In reality, Cruz and his fellow conservatives — most Senate Republicans have abandoned Cruz and distanced themselves from his polarizing gambit — can do nothing to stop the Senate from voting Wednesday on a House spending bill.

And Democrats, holding a majority in the chamber, will likely be able to strip the provision that defunds Obamacare from the House legislation with a simple majority of just 51 votes.

A third Senate hopeful, state Sen. Randy Baumgardner, R-Hot Sulphur Springs, has not signed the pledge to defund Obamacare.

State Rep. Amy Stephens, R-Monument, is also considering entering the GOP’s Senate primary field.

Colorado Democrats hit Buck and Hill in a statement Tuesday afternoon, noting that a possible government shutdown could impact the flow of federal recovery dollars to Colorado in the aftermath of devastating floods.

“Coloradans have shown tremendous resolve, uniting to rebuild stronger and better in the wake of the recent flooding. However, the Republican Party’s U.S. Senate candidates have sided with their extremist colleagues in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate who are threatening to shutdown the government and halt critical flood-recovery efforts,” said Rick Palacio, the Colorado Democratic Party chairman.

“If the Colorado GOP’s Senate candidates can’t stand up against extreme partisans, how can hardworking, middle-class Coloradans trust these politicians to stand up for them?”