Rep. King: GOP should 'stare down' Obama over government shutdown

Republicans should stare President Obama down and force more than $100 billion in cuts from current spending, Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) told The Ballot Box. 

"We're not addressing the real problem with this," King said. "A hundred billion dollars is a piece of cake, but that's not staring the president down. If members of the House are sending signals that we are afraid of the president shutting down the government, then the president will get everything he's willing to fight for." 

King also said he's still leaning against voting for a continuing resolution to fund the government past March 4 despite the deeper spending cuts embraced by the Republican leadership in the House last week. 

Rather than being emboldened by major GOP gains last November, which "showed clearly the mood of the public," King thinks some members still fear a real showdown with Obama. To King, it means his party has less leverage than it should in the current budget fight.  

"I think there are members of the House of Representatives who are sending that signal," said King, declining to single out specific members. 

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GOP leaders have said repeatedly that they want to avoid a government shutdown, while Democrats appear to see a shutdown as playing to their political advantage. 

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Sunday, "Our goal here is to reduce spending. Our goal is not to shut down the government."  

The government shutdowns in the 1990s were credited with helping President Clinton, who won reelection in 1996 after the GOP took over the House in 1994. 

Last week, the GOP leadership put forth a new plan to cut billions in additional spending after Tea Party-backed freshman members said the initial proposed cuts weren't nearly enough. 

On Sunday, Boehner said while the new plan satisfies the party's 2010 campaign pledge on spending cuts, "there's no limit to the amount of money our members want to cut." 

King now wants House Republicans to embrace a fight to strip all appropriations for the healthcare law. 

"If you could shut off all the bullets going to Vietnam, you can surely shut off the dollars going to ObamaCare," he said, claiming that the GOP appears to be willing to settle for a "1 percent solution, rather than a 100 percent solution."