Cassidy won't support shutdown over health law

GONZALES (AP) — U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy split

with some hard-line members of the GOP on Wednesday, saying he wouldn't

support

a federal government shutdown as a way to defund President Barack

Obama's health care law if the move would stop defense spending.

The Republican congressman, who is running

against U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu in the 2014 election, said he would

prefer an up

or down vote specifically on whether to pay for implementation of

the law, which was passed by a Democratic-controlled Congress

in 2010.

But when pressed to clarify his position, Cassidy said he won't vote against legislation to continue paying for U.S. government

services beyond Sept. 30 if such a vote would also defund military programs, as it likely would do.

"If funding for Obamacare ends up being

wrapped into other things such as funding for the military, then I have

to support

things such as funding for the military," the Baton Rouge lawmaker

said, after speaking to a local home builders association.

The issue divides Republicans, some of whom say a shutdown could damage GOP candidates at the polls and create a backlash

from voters. Louisiana's Republican senator, U.S. Sen. David Vitter, has said he will support a government shutdown rather

than agree to pay for the Affordable Care Act.

Cassidy wouldn't directly say that he opposed a government shutdown, trying to craft distinctions on the issue.

"It depends on what you mean by shutting down the government. If you mean that the guys on active duty don't get bullets,

or that their spouses who are stateside don't have a check to pay their rent, I am not willing to do that," he said. "But

you're asking me to imagine what a bill looks like, and I can't do that."