President Barack Obama was dismissive Friday of an effort by conservatives in the U.S. House and Senate to defund Obamacare, even if it means a government shutdown.
"The idea that you would shut down the government unless you prevent 30 million people from getting health care is a bad idea," Obama said during a presidential news conference. "What you should be thinking about is, how can we advance and improve ways for middle class families to have some security so that if they work hard they can get ahead and their kids can get ahead."
US President Barack Obama speaks during a press conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC, August 9, 2013. Credit: AFP/Getty Images
One reporter put the onus on Obama, asking, "Would you choose to let the government shut down to ensure that "Obamacare" remains funded?"
The president opted against hypotheticals, but warned a government shutdown could cause more economic uncertainty.
"I can tell you that the American people would have difficulty understanding why we would weaken our economy, shut down our government, shut down vital services, have people who are not getting paid who then can't go to restaurants or shop for clothes or all the other things that we're doing here, because Republicans have determined that they don't want to see these folks get health care," Obama said.
Leading conservative voices such as Republican Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida, Mike Lee of Utah, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Ted Cruz of Texas has been staunch advocates for fighting to defund implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare.
Many conservatives argue it is the final chance to stop the law. However, many other Republicans and conservative commentators have warned it could have damaging political consequences.