Rep. King to GOP on defunding vote: 'If we hold our ground, we will win'

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) on Friday afternoon suggested that a government shutdown could help Republicans win their fight to defund ObamaCare in the coming days.

King noted that House Democrats who ran the House in the 1980s caused a government shutdown after Republicans in the Senate and President Reagan rejected their request for $1 billion in social spending. That led to a shutdown for three days, after which Republicans agreed to give Democrats $900 million in spending.

"They gave up 10 percent of what they asked for and the government was opened back up again," King said of Democrats.

ADVERTISEMENT
"A determined majority in the House of Representatives prevailed to the level of 90 percent of their ask against a Republican majority in the Senate that opposed them and a President who has clearly held his ground in case after case."

King also downplayed the idea that a government shutdown would be disastrous, and said there have been several shutdowns over the decades that are quickly forgotten.

"There were ... at least five government shutdowns when Jimmy Carter was president," King said. "Five of them. One of them was over a nuclear battleship or a nuclear ship of some kind, and the longest shutdown he had was 18 days.

"Does anybody remember those shutdowns from the '80s?" he asked. "Kind of. It didn't change my life that I remember."

King encouraged Republicans to keep pressing for a defunding of ObamaCare, even though the Senate just passed a bill that takes out defunding language passed by the House. While many believe Republicans would bear the blame for any shutdown, King said the House should reject the Senate bill.

"If 218 House members hold our ground — if we say we will not fund ObamaCare and we will not fund an appropriation that fails to cut off the funding to ObamaCare — if we hold our ground, we will win," he said.

"This contest now that's going on is a contest of wills."

King's implication that a shutdown could help Republicans goes against what many other Republicans have said in the House and Senate. Several GOP members have said they do not want a shutdown, and instead are trying to use the spending bill as a point of focus to win policy concessions on issues like ObamaCare.

House Republicans are expected to meet Saturday to plot their next step. Without congressional action, non-essential portions of the federal government would stop operating after Sept. 30.