Huelskamp: Defunding Obamacare 'Worthy' of Gov't Shutdown

By Patrick Burke | March 15, 2013 | 5:30 PM EDT

Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.) (Photo: Huelskamp/Flickr)

( -- Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.) said the effort to defund Obamacare by amending the continuing resolution (CR) -- to fund the government for the next six months -- is worth potentially shutting down the government, but he added that he does not think “the current leadership” in the House will do that, noting that “the House and our leadership refused to even allow a vote” on the proposal last week.

At the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Md., on Friday, asked Huelskamp, “Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said earlier this week that he’d like to see language put in the continuing resolution to defund Obamacare. And when this CR comes back to the House, would you like to see efforts, or even lead efforts to do just that and defund Obamacare?”

If the player does not load, please check that you are running the latest version of Adobe Flash Player.

Huelskamp said, “I certainly would like to see that. We made our shot in the House and our leadership refused to even allow a vote. They knew it would go on. We had the votes in the House. But the goal is trying to make sure spending doesn’t go up. The Senate had their vote, couldn’t get it done but at the end of the day, this is the real battle.”

“We let Obamacare become implemented and become part of the American healthcare system,” said Huelskamp. “It’ll be hard to ever unravel that. So any way we can do that, I don’t think that’s going to be able to happen on the CR but it’s so critical when you’re talking about next year’s budget and talk about the debt ceiling. We’ve got to talk about how Obamacare’s going to destroy not only the budget, but our healthcare system in America.”

On the issue of potentially shutting down the government over funding for Obamacare, asked the congressman, “Senator Cruz also mentioned the possibility of a government shutdown over this issue of any Republican attempt to try to defund Obamacare within the CR. Do you think it is worth the potential of a government shutdown to try and defund it?”

(AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

Huelskamp said, “My dad always thought the government shuts down on the weekends anyway, and I think it’s worthy of that, but I don’t really see that happening with the current leadership not willing to fight that. But I think the ‘resident of the United States would be willing to shut the government down to save Obamacare. But I don’t think we’re willing to shut the government down to stop its implementation.”

“We’re going to keep pushing on that, but we’re going to have more folks from the House side calling in,” said Huelskamp, “beause a lot of my collegaues  have not been hearing much from their constituents about Obamacare -- other than most people oppose it, but the engagement has really dropped off since the first of the year.”

The House of Representatives passed a CR on Mar. 6 to fund the federal government for the rest of FY 2013 (through Sept. 30),  which also included funding for the implementation of Obamacare. reported on Wednesday that Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) introduced an amendment to the CR that would defund Obamacare. However, the Senate is controlled by Democrats and the amendment failed.

Cruz pointed out, however, that if the Senate CR differs at all from the one passed previously by the House, the House would have another chance to vote on it, and could amend it then to defund Obamacare.

On Thursday, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) ruled out any possibility of changing the CR, a must-pass bill, to defund Obamacare, or challenging the president over the issue with the CR.

“We have voted many times over the last 2 years that we've been in the majority to defund Obamacare, to repeal Obamacare, and we will do so again here in the House in the coming months," Boehner told "Our goal here is to cut spending.”

“It’s not to shut down the government,” he said.

“I believe that trying to put Obamacare on this vehicle risks shutting down the government,” Boehner said. “That’s not what our goal is. Our goal here is to reduce spending.”

House Republicans have symbolically voted to repeal Obamacare more than 30 times in legislation that did not need to pass. However, every time they have enacted legislation that must-pass to keep the government funded, they have declined to include language that would repeal all or any part of Obamacare or that would withhold funding for all or any part of Obamacare.