Rep. Steve King: Health Care Fight Worth Risking Government Shutdown

Mar 14, 2011 1:45pm

ABC News’ Rick Klein reports:

Rep. Steve King is lobbying his colleagues to take their fight against President Obama’s health care law to a new level: He wants to cut off funding for the law as a condition for keeping other government funds in place.

“We have a leverage point, and it is the funding for the government for the balance of the fiscal year 2011,” King, R-Iowa, told us today on ABC’s “Top Line.” “This is the place to pitch the fight.”

If such a stance brings about a partial government shutdown, it would be Democrats’ fault, King said: “If we shut off the funding to implement Obamacare and the Senate or the president refuses to go along with it, that is their decision, not ours.”

Still, King argued, a shutdown might not be a bad result.

“If essential services keep going, no, it wouldn’t be. And I think that we’d be able to keep essential services going on. You know, the wedge issue is this: Is the president — would he think that his signature issue is more important to him than all the functions of government? That’s the question. And in the end, will American people stand with us, or will they stand with Obamacare?”

King also criticized Democrats for not having passed a budget last year – forcing the series of “continuing resolutions” that patch together funding a few weeks at the time. “It’s not a way to run the government,” King said.

And King said that while the nuclear energy crisis in Japan raises important questions about safety, it shouldn’t be used as an excuse to shelve plans to build new facilities.“This tragedy is just mammoth proportions, and America will step up to support Japan. But … I think this: I’m not with Joe Lieberman on this, that we should put a freeze on what we do. But while this is going on, our people who are experts, the engineers who engineer and design these nuclear plants — those that can go back and go through the drawings of those plants that are 40 years old and older should, I think, be giving us their professional opinions as to the risks that we might have.”

“But I wouldn’t if I were the president sign an executive order to freeze all construction of nuclear plants, as the president froze all drilling in the Gulf Coast after the [BP oil spill] disaster down there. We need to move forward, but while we’re moving forward we can also do the analysis so that we’re doing the prudent thing in the long term.”

Watch the interview with Rep. Steve King HERE.

Also on today’s “Top Line,” we checked in with Jim Tankersley of National Journal, to discuss the political impact of the tsunami’s aftermath, plus the Obama administration’s approach to energy issues and the budget crisis.

(And we showed the winning shot from Saturday night’s Princeton victory over Harvard – a clip that most definitely doesn’t include ABC’s John Berman.)

Watch that segment of “Top Line” HERE.

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