The groups are among several that have played an increasingly active role in Republican primary elections in recent years, several times supporting tea party-aligned challengers. In some cases — Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, for one — they went on to victory in the fall. In more, they lost seemingly winnable races to Democrats.
One survivor of such a challenge, Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said during the day that the Heritage Foundation is in danger of losing its clout as a reliable conservative think tank because of the actions of its political arm, Heritage Action.
In an interview on MSNBC, he said, “There’s a real question in the minds of many Republicans now. ... Is Heritage going to go so political that it really doesn’t amount to anything anymore?”
Heritage Action played an influential role in the two-week political showdown. In the days leading to the impasse, it was a strong backer of the campaign to demand that “Obamacare” be defunded in exchange for Republican approval of funding for the government.
And on Tuesday, as it was hosting a fundraiser at a high-end golf resort in Bandon, Ore., the group weighed in to oppose legislation that House Speaker John Boehner put together in hopes of retaining influence in the final negotiations over the impasse in Washington.
Yet another group, Americans for Limited Government, assailed Rep. Scott Rigell, R-Va., who voted for the legislation that reopened the government and raised the debt limit. Noting that the measure had not defunded the health care law, the group said the congressman “owns Obamacare just as much as if it had been a vote to adopt it in the first place.”
In a statement issued on Wednesday in connection with his vote, Rigell said he was voting for the bill “given the lack of a viable alternative at this moment.”