Hillary Rodham Clinton will join with environmentalists to press for an end to elephant poaching (Credit: Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP) Hillary Rodham Clinton (Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP)

NEW YORK – Hillary Rodham Clinton said Tuesday that if a “noisy minority” of Republican lawmakers force a government shutdown over funding for President Obama’s signature health-care law, they would face negative political consequences.

“It wouldn’t be the worst thing for Democrats if they tried to shut the government down,” said Clinton, a former secretary of state and potential 2016 Democratic presidential candidate. “We’ve seen that movie before and it didn’t work out so well for those so-called obstructionists.”

Clinton was referencing the political harm for Republicans in the mid-1990s when they forced a shutdown during husband Bill Clinton’s presidency.

“If they want to try to shut the government down, that’s on their head, that’s their responsibility,” she added.

Clinton weighed in for the first time on the budget battle in Washington when she answered a question about the health-care law on a panel focused on opportunities for women and girls issues at the Clinton Global Initiative here in New York.

Clinton said she finds the debate over the law known as Obamacare to be “quite unfortunate.”

“A law was passed, it was upheld by the Supreme Court, it is the law of the land,” Clinton said. She added, “People agree with the specifics [of the law], but as I found back in the ‘90s with our effort, they have been in effect convinced that the overall program is not to their liking. … We’re in this kind of bipolar political world.”

Clinton also referenced the debate over the nation’s borrowing ability, saying she hopes members of Congress “deal with our debt limit.”

“I hope that smarter, cooler heads prevail and that we deal with our budget and we deal with our debt limit,” Clinton said.