Romney warns Republicans against government shutdown over ObamaCare

Mitt Romney on Tuesday warned congressional Republicans against shutting down the government in an attempt to defund ObamaCare. 

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“I badly want ObamaCare to go away, and stripping it of funds has appeal,” Romney said at a fundraiser in New Hampshire for the state’s Republican Party, according to prepared remarks. “But we need to exercise great care about any talk of shutting down government. What would come next when soldiers aren't paid, when seniors fear for their Medicare and Social Security, and when the FBI is off duty?”

Speaking at the event in Wolfeboro, just miles from his summer vacation home, the 2012 Republican presidential candidate said “there are better ways to remove” President Obama’s signature healthcare law.

“I'm afraid that in the final analysis, ObamaCare would get its funding, our party would suffer in the next elections, and the people of the nation would not be happy,” he said. “I think there are better ways to remove ObamaCare.”

A plan spearheaded by Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) would shut down the government to block funds for ObamaCare. Lee says he’s recruited more than a dozen Republican colleagues willing to block a continuing resolution to fund the government beyond Sept. 30 if it includes funding for the healthcare law.

But in recent weeks, the plan has been under fierce attack by some in the Republican Party who worry that the GOP would take the blame for a government shutdown, and that it might cost the party in upcoming elections.

Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) have both spoken out against the plan, and Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) called it “the dumbest idea I've ever heard.”

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) offered perhaps the strongest indictment of Lee’s plan, saying it would cost the GOP control of the House and could destroy the party.

Still, the second- and third-ranking members of Republican leadership, Sens. John Cornyn (Texas) and John Thune (S.D.), have said they support the idea, as do influential conservatives and potential presidential candidates Sens. Marco Rubio (Fla.) and Ted Cruz (Texas).