Colorado Springs Congressman Doug Lamborn is backing a deal that could avert a government shutdown while setting up another showdown over Obamacare.
The Republican is still all about undermining the Affordable Care Act. But he is joining a GOP movement to push the health care fight to a later vote over the nation's debt ceiling rather than tying up the federal budget.
"That is the holy grail of what I'm after in all of these negotiations - to delay Obamacare for a year," Lamborn said in a Thursday telephone interview. "To me that sets it on a path of being delayed permanently."
A government shutdown should be avoided, Lamborn said. In his military-heavy 5th Congressional District, as much as 40 percent of the economy is based on Pentagon spending.
The Defense Department has warned that a shutdown would delay paychecks for troops and payment on contracts. It would be the first time since the Revolutionary War that the military has delayed pay during wartime.
"No one wants a government shutdown," Lamborn said.
But he might embrace a shutdown if it puts a wooden stake in Obamacare.
"As bad as a delay of pay would be, we have to remember that Obamacare is causing tremendous turmoil in the economy," Lamborn said.
Since it passed, the Affordable Care Act has been under GOP fire with claims that mandated worker health care coverage will put business in a tailspin.
Attacking the reform plan was a winning strategy for Republicans in 2010 as they used the issue to stir Tea Party fervor.
This year, majority Republicans in the House eliminated cash for Obamacare in their version of the budget in an attempt to force the Democrat-run Senate and the White House to back down from the plan.
With the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1, the government will run out of cash unless a deal is reached.
Lamborn said if a shutdown happens, it won't last long.
"The likelihood of anything going more than few hours or a day or two are very low," he said.
One solution Lamborn is seeking would shield the Pentagon from a shutdown. But he said he's getting little traction on passage of a separate defense appropriations bill that would fund the Pentagon after Oct. 1.