Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) warned his colleagues Wednesday that shutting down the government over Obamacare might cost Republicans the House majority in 2014.
Speaking at an event hosted by the Illinois chapter of Americans For Prosperity, Kinzinger explained at length why he felt a faction of conservatives in both the House and Senate were wrong to suggest that a continuing resolution -- which would keep the federal government open past Sept. 30 -- should be blocked if it includes funding for the Affordable Care Act.
"Potentially there will be a collapse of will to keep the government shut down because soldiers are not getting paid, and all this other stuff’s happening, and we turn around and lose 10-20 seats in 2014," Kinzinger said. "And whether we win the battle or not, we’ve lost the war because Nancy Pelosi’s speaker of the House."
"This is not a disagreement on defunding Obamacare. This is not a disagreement on whether or not we hate the health care bill," he added. "This is a disagreement on tactics in terms of what is the best way to ensure that in the future we can repeal this law without bringing down the American economy or bringing down the Republican majority in the House."
Kinzinger faced pushback from one attendee, who argued that this was the last chance for Republicans to dismantle the health care law, and that the party was supporting it by "giving it money."
"I totally respect your position on this," the congressman responded. "[But] I don’t think the defunding thing is going to work, and I think we are going to lose the House in 2014, potentially."
But one attendee, who was identified in the YouTube video of the speech as Ted McCarron of the DeKalb County Illinois Tea Party, was unconvinced, prompting Kinzinger to put the political price of a government shutdown into perspective.
"We shut down the federal government ... Soldiers are not getting their paychecks," he said, before pointing out that President Barack Obama would never sign a measure into law that defunds his signature policy achievement. "So what would happen? What happens is we pass it without the funding, the Senate takes it, amends the bill to include the funding, and sends it right back to us and then it's on our doorstep."
"What I'm telling you is going to happen, I fear, is that ultimately at the end of the day, we can hold out -- let's hold out until December," Kinzinger continued. "Now troops haven't been paid for two months, three months. Obama will stand up and say, 'Sorry you're not getting your paycheck.' The public is massively turning against us saying, 'Jesus, it's the law of the land -- now I see why it's not working, because Republicans have been obstinate on this.'"
When the same attendee asked Kinzinger why the president would not be blamed for the shutdown, the congressman shot back, "If Congress has a 13 percent approval rating, do you think we can win that one?"
Kinzinger's comments echo a similar argument made by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) last month, while he was urging his tea party colleagues to back off their 'Defund Obamacare' campaign.
"The president is never going to sign a bill defunding Obamacare. Do you think he’s going to cave?" Coburn told the Washington Examiner. "The strategy that has been laid out is a good way for Republicans to lose the House."
Earlier this week, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) became the first member of the GOP leadership to reject the idea of shutting down the government. Like Kinzinger, he emphasized that there aren't enough votes in the Democratic-controlled Senate to pass a continuing resolution with no funding for Obamacare.
"To get 60 votes in the Senate, you need at least 14 Democrats to join Republicans and pass a CR that defunds Obamacare," Cantor said. "Right now, I am not aware of a single Democrat in the Senate who would join us."