Rep King: House Won't Defund Obamacare Because Leaders ‘Afraid' GOP Will be Blamed for Shutdown

Pete Winn | November 21, 2011 | 6:46pm EST
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Rep. Steve King (R.-Iowa) (AP Photo)

( – Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) says that Congress is not going to cut off funding for Obamacare or Planned Parenthood because House Republican leadership is afraid of the threat of a showdown with Senate Democrats and the president – they’re afraid that Republicans would be blamed for a government shutdown.

King said the House GOP leadership, if asked, would say that they did pass a repeal of Obamacare – and would blame the Senate, which didn’t take up the measure.

But King also said House Republicans “didn’t use the leverage that we should have used.”

“We didn’t bring up the maximum leverage because the decision was made by leadership to avoid the prospect of a showdown with the president or Harry Reid that could result in a potential shutdown of government,” King told in an interview.

“And that rationale – and it wasn’t my rationale – is what brings us to this point -- that we’re still funding Obamacare to the tune of $23.6 billion dollars in the first two years, we’re trying to find $1.2 trillion in cuts, there’s $1.379 trillion in cuts that are there automatically if we just cut off the existing programs within Obamacare and resolve the problem with the Super-committee,” he said.

“Well, it isn’t going to happen because of the threat of a showdown being a threat of a potential shutdown and they’re afraid that Republicans will be blamed -- same situation with Planned Parenthood,” he told


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King believes that those who were in Congress in 1995 when the government was shut down “got a certain lesson from that, that the president would always win when it was a confrontation between House Republicans and the president.”

“I don’t agree,” he added.

King said the situation brings to mind American author Mark Twain.

“It was Mark Twain that wrote the story about how once the cat sits on a hot stove lid, he will never sit on a hot stove lid again, and then he pauses and writes, he will never sit on a cold one, either.  I think we have a cold stove lid here,” King said.

The Iowa congressman would not completely rule out the possibility of the House leadership changing its mind – but the chances are remote, he said.

“Well, there’s always a possibility, but I think it would have to come from some type of public calamity that would move people similar to the way that the ACORN tapes moved people and we shut off the funding to ACORN,” King told

“Short of that, I don’t think there’s going to be a rational thought process that thinks this through and decides the right thing to do is to cut off the funding to Obamacare and cut off the funding to Planned Parenthood.”

Ironically, Republicans would have had the support of the American people in cutting off funding for Obamacare, King said.

“I think the American public would have sided with us, and if we had held our ground on shutting off the funding to Obamacare in particular, as well as funding Planned Parenthood, because it puts the president and Harry Reid and the Democrats in the position of having to defend Obamacare as more important than all of the rest of the functions of government combined,” he said.

“They will not win that argument, but we were not as a body willing to make it in a place where we had a chance to succeed legislatively,” the Iowa conservative added.

In fact, King said he is confident that there are still enough votes in the House to repeal funding for Obamacare and Planned Parenthood.

“If the repeal of Obamacare went up on the floor, every Republican would vote for the repeal of it.  Cutting all funding, same thing -- especially if it was written by the Speaker or the Majority Leader, and of course, we don’t expect that will happen.”

Congress last week passed a continuing resolution enabling the government to continue operations for another month -- with funding for the Affordable Care Act and for Planned Parenthood.

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