Rep. Steve King: House Republicans Still Need Strategy for Defunding Obamacare

By Dan Joseph | January 19, 2011 | 7:20 PM EST

Rep. Steve King (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari)

Washington ( – Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) says he is not yet sure how House Republicans will go about defunding Obamacare if the effort to enact legislation fully repealing the legislation ultimately fails, as it is expected to given that it would require passing the Democrat-controlled Senate and then the signature of President Obama to become law. 

“There have been some discussions (with House leadership), but I haven’t gone into it deeply enough that I’d be willing to represent it publicly,” King said about the effort to defund Obamacare. “Those are conversations that need to take place.”

King said that the entire focus for the last few days has been on the repeal legislation, but that attempts to defund Obamacare would follow that.

King has proposed placing language to defund Obamacare in all appropriations bills approved by the Republican-controlled House of Representatives. While some of his Republican colleagues have said they would be willing to support this method of defunding Obamacare, it remains unclear whether the House Republican leadership will adopt this strategy, particularly since not all Republicans in the House oppose Obamacare in its entirety and the leadership is planning to move legislation to "replace" elements of Obamacare if they repeal the full law.

In an interview following a Capitol Hill press conference Tuesday, asked King if he thought it was more likely that attempts at defunding the bill would take place on the House floor, throug amendments offered by conservatives, rather than in the Appropriations Committee, as King has suggested. The House Rules Committee, chaired by Rep. David Dreier (R.-Calif.) and controlled by the House leadership, would need to approve rules allowing floor votes on amendments aimed at defunding Obamacare. King said he is unsure how that committee would react to such amendments. 

“I don’t know what the Rules Committee might decide to do,” King said. “But through the appropriations I’m hopeful that we’ll be able to negotiate that strategy and have a cooperative effort going on with leadership through the committee chairs through the entire process.” 

King, however, said he didn’t want the strategy to be last-minute.

“I don’t want to have to push the chain uphill.  I’d rather be pulling than pushing.  So we’ll see how that emerges, we just haven’t gotten as far into that where I can make a prediction at this point,” the Iowa Republican said. 

“But I will say that if we do not shut off funding to implement or enforce Obamacare, this administration will drive forth with all vigor to get as much of it established as they can and you just simply can’t get rid of it by trimming the bushes. You’ve got to pull it out by the roots.”

The House voted 245-189 Wednesday to fully repeal Obamacare. Three Democrats joined the unanimous GOP conference to vote for repeal.