INDIANAPOLIS | A northeast Indiana congressman is risking a potential shutdown of the federal government in his last-ditch effort to delay implementation of the Affordable Care Act.
U.S. Rep. Marlin Stutzman, R-Howe, is leading a Tea Party charge in the U.S. House to block federal spending on the health law, also known as Obamacare, before its major provisions begin taking effect in October.
"We must defund Obamacare and save the American people from this train wreck," Stutzman said. "We have to fight on every opportunity when we can to stop it from hurting more Americans and continuing to hurt our economy."
Stutzman's proposal, which has little chance of succeeding, calls for the Republican-controlled House to only approve a government spending plan — known as a continuing resolution — if it omits all funding for Obamacare.
Such a measure is unlikely to win approval by the Democratic-controlled Senate and Democratic President Barack Obama, potentially setting the stage for a government shutdown.
That's because without a continuing resolution in place by Sept. 30, the federal government cannot spend any discretionary money and most agencies won't be able to operate.
However, federal law requires mandatory spending, including Social Security, Medicare and $71 billion of the $94 billion expected to be spent on Obamacare next year, to continue through a government shutdown.
Stutzman told conservative radio host Sean Hannity on Wednesday that cutting even 24 percent of Obamacare funding, which Stutzman said will complicate the health insurance enrollment process, is still worth the fight.
"This is when it matters," Stutzman said. "I can't just sit on the side and not do something when I have an opportunity to do it."
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, so far is not embracing Stutzman's proposal. A similar plan by four Tea Party senators also is failing to catch on in that chamber.
Many Republicans fear a government shutdown, recalling that the 1995 GOP-led shutdown was critical in helping Democratic President Bill Clinton win re-election.