Republican lawmaker compares defunding health law to Vietnam

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) says to defund the healthcare law, his party should use the precedent set by House Democrats some three decades ago in cutting off funding for the Vietnam War.  

"We should follow the model of the appropriations bill that shut off the funding for the Vietnam War," King told a crowd of Tea Party activists at a town hall forum in Washington on Tuesday night. "It went back to any money that was in the pipeline. That precedent is there."  

King said he's working to convince fellow House Republicans that simply cutting off funding for the healthcare law through the current fiscal year isn't enough.

"That's where our argument is now," King said. "It is to convince a majority in the House of Representatives that just shutting off funding for the balance of the year isn't good enough, but shutting off all funding that's been automatically put in the pipeline by the passage of ObamaCare must be done."

On Monday, King said that if the Republican leadership in the House wants his vote on raising the debt ceiling, it will have to get behind an amendment to defund the healthcare law. He plans to offer the amendment next week when the House considers the 2011 continuing resolution (CR) funding the government after March 4. 

Joined at the Tea Party event Tuesday by Reps. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) and Allen West (R-Fla.) and Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.), King said Republicans should prioritize the upcoming debate over the CR above the debt-ceiling vote. 

"The continuing resolution is the pivotal vote we'll be looking at," he said. "This is the ground to fight on and this is how we win."

— Erik Wasson contributed.

More in House races

Former aide will run to replace lawmaker

Read more »