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Kansas lawmakers slam federal health care law

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) -- Members of Kansas' all-Republican congressional delegation seem to agree the coming weeks are critical to the future of the federal health care law. They're less certain about how to stop it.

In a session titled "Over the Cliff -- Digging in on Taxes," U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins told the Kansas Independent Oil and Gas Association on Monday that Republicans have two upcoming "pressure points" -- defund the government and refuse to raise the debt ceiling. But the likelihood of the Congress agreeing on the priorities is next to none, she said.

"So I think we are looking at a continuing resolution which would fund the government," she said. "And I don't know if Republicans, any of us, are real thrilled about continuing the priorities of this administration in that continuing resolution."

She said Republicans agree the debt ceiling has got to be raised for a few more years to balance the budget, but ultimately, they want to fix the tax code and what they say are driving the country's debt, Medicare and the health care law, she told the crowd at the group's annual convention in Wichita.

Enrollment for the health law's new coverage options starts Oct. 1, and benefits kick in Jan. 1.

U.S. Rep. Tim Huelskamp said the health care law is not ready to be implemented and is holding back economic growth.

"I don't believe in shutting down the government, but I do believe in shutting down Obamacare," he said.

He urged the independent oil and gas producers in the crowd to tell people in Washington how the law affects small businesses.

"Hey, we have five weeks before this thing kicks in," Huelskamp said.

Sen. Pat Roberts said he's working to obtain support for legislation that would delay the law's implementation, saying that it's difficult to take away a subsidy once it's been granted.

And U.S. Rep Mike Pompeo said that Republicans will do what it takes to stop the law.

"If that means that we come to a point where we have to stand there and have a few days when the government is 'shutdown' so be it. It's fine with me. It is not my goal," he said, adding he didn't know if that would get them much and it could leave them in a worse position.