Jim DeMint
DeMint, R-S.C., left Congress to head the Heritage Foundation. Reuters

Congressional Republicans who don’t support the move by others in their party to defund Obamacare this fall must go, said Jim DeMint, president of the conservative think tank The Heritage Foundation.

DeMint, a former senator from South Carolina, made his opinion clear during a town hall-style meeting on Monday hosted by Heritage Action, the foundation’s political advocacy group. DeMint didn’t mince words about former colleagues whom he believes are not standing up to President Barack Obama, saying the risk of a partial government shutdown isn’t as bad as implementing Obamacare.

“I’m not as interested in the political futures of folks who think they might lose a showdown with the president,” he said at the meeting.

About a dozen Republican senators have signed a letter addressed to Majority Leader Harry Reid, noting that they are prepared not to vote for a temporary spending bill known as a continuing resolution to fund the government past Sept. 30 if it appropriates money to implement the 2010 Affordable Care Act.

Failure to pass a spending measure could lead to a government shutdown. However, the defund movement quickly drove a bigger wedge than had existed previously between two halves of the already divided party, as not all conservative lawmakers think forcing a government shutdown, even a temporary one, is a good idea.

Speaking with NPR on Tuesday, DeMint said, “I think [Obama] knows that Republicans are afraid, and if they are, they need to be replaced.”

Those are tough words DeMint could likely follow through on, as he founded the Senate Conservatives Fund, or SCF, a political action committee, before the 2010 elections with the aim to elect “true conservatives” to the Senate. The SCF’s website says that among other things, it only supports candidates who have the courage to repeal Obamacare.

Republicans have made 40 attempts either to repeal Obamacare in its entirety or repeal parts of the law.

“President Obama’s health care takeover is set to destroy American medicine and bankrupt our country,” the website reads. “SCF candidates support the full repeal of this dangerous law.”