A government shutdown won't stop the nation's new healthcare law, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday.
At a healthcare forum in Corbin, Ky., the Republican leader insisted, "I'm for stopping Obamacare, but shutting down the government will not stop Obamacare," according to WYMT reporter Tanner Hesterberg, who attended the event and tweeted the remark.
Republicans are divided over whether to threaten or force a government shutdown over funding for controversial Affordable Care Act, and McConnell has come under attack from his 2014 primary challenger, Matt Bevin, for not going after Obamacare forcefully enough.
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Several conservative senators — including Ted Cruz of Texas, Mike Lee of Utah and Marco Rubio of Florida — have said the GOP shouldn't vote to fund the government unless they can stop money from flowing to Obamacare, though North Carolina Republican Richard Burr last month called the move the "dumbest idea" he'd ever heard.
And House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) last week conceded conservatives don't have the votes to force a defunding of Obamacare in legislation to avoid a shutdown by Oct. 1.
McConnell's stance is the first public position he's taken on the shutdown threat, The Hill reported.
But his statement affirms what the Congressional Research Service has found -- that a government shutdown would not impact major portions of the law that will continue to get implementation funding that the law provides outside the appropriations process.
McConnell also told the healthcare forum the U.S. has "the greatest healthcare in the world -- unless we [legislators] mess it up," Hesterberg tweeted.
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