By Erik Wasson - 02/07/11 08:04 PM EST
He said the central issue is getting language in the CR that blocks any funds from being used to “implement and enforce Obamacare.” King said that blocking Obamacare saves much more money than the $100 billion in cuts, which is said is “chump change” in comparison.
“If we are successful in doing that, that helps help me to get closer to agreeing to some kind of extension of the debt ceiling,” King said. He acknowledged that it will not be until 2013 at the earliest, when there is the possibility of a Republican in the White House, that the healthcare law can be fully repealed, and he is now focused on defunding it.
King said he is not in the category of members who will not vote for an extension of the $14.3 trillion debt limit in any circumstance, because he believes short-term extensions can be used to extract concessions from Democrats.
“I am not dug in that hard. There is something to be gained in seeking concessions for a short-term extension,” he said.
If the House does not attach the healthcare language to the CR, King will seek to have it attached to a debt-ceiling bill, likely on the floor before the end of May.
King said he did not think conditions raising the debt limit on passage of a balanced-budget amendment is realistic, even though he supports such an amendment. He said House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) should schedule such a vote, however, and that he would like to see the GOP produce a sample balanced budget to illustrate where cuts would come from.
The congressman said he has had talks with party leadership about tying healthcare to the CR vote as well as Republican Study Committee leadership, which is working on an amendment that could also include the language.
Senate Democrats have said that the House CR will be dead on arrival in the Senate. Inclusion of the healthcare amendment would likely make the CR even less palatable to the Senate or administration and thereby make spending negotiations more contentious.