Report: Dems to force House vote on clean CR that would end shutdown?

posted at 4:41 pm on October 4, 2013 by Allahpundit

I’d been wondering whether they might do this, but two days ago WaPo posted this procedural explainer shooting down the idea. Yes, it’s true that whether the House votes on a bill is almost entirely up to the Speaker. And yes, it’s also true that the minority can force the Speaker to call a vote if it files a “discharge petition” signed by 218 House members. Couldn’t Pelosi try something like that, knowing that there are lots of centrist Republicans who might be willing to join her? Nope, said WaPo: As it turns out, it takes a solid month after a discharge petition is filed before it comes to the floor. The earliest they could vote would be November, by which time the shutdown will have long since ended. (I think.)

But wait — what if there’s a discharge petition that’s already on the calendar? Dude?

The bill in question is the “Government Shutdown Prevention Act,” which was introduced in March by GOP Rep. James Lankford of Oklahoma. As the Congressman’s release describes it:

“If Congress fails to approve a budget by the end of each fiscal year, the Government Shutdown Prevention Act would ensure that all operations remain running normally without any interruption of services by automatically triggering a continuing resolution (CR) or short-term, stop-gap spending device. The bill creates an automatic CR for any regular appropriations bill not completed before the end of the fiscal year. After the first 120 days, auto-CR funding would be reduced by one percentage point and would continue to be reduced by that margin every 90 days.”

This afternoon, Dem Reps. Chris Van Hollen and George Miller will announce that they are introducing a discharge petition for the Lankford bill. They will discuss the procedural ins and outs of this move. The upshot: Once the petition is filed, they will begin rounding up signatures from both Democrats and Republicans. If they can get 218 signatures, a House vote to reopen the government will happen.

Dems say that if they get enough signatures, they’d be able to force a vote by October 14th.

October 14th is just three days before the debt-ceiling deadline. Question: Even if there are, say, 30 centrist GOPers who say they want a clean CR, how many of them are actually willing to vote for one? And of that number, how many are willing to sign a discharge petition being organized by conservative bete noire Nancy Pelosi to make it happen? And of that number, how many are willing to end the shutdown just 72 hours before we hit the debt limit, thereby signaling that Boehner’s lost control of his caucus and destroying whatever’s left of his negotiating leverage with the White House? What Pelosi has going for her here is that the “Government Shutdown Prevention Act” was introduced by a Republican, which might give GOP centrists a smidge extra political cover in backing it, and the fact that if the shutdown persists another 10 days, some of those centrists might be so panicked about the backlash back home that they really might consider a discharge petition. But, if the backlash is that severe, then Boehner himself will be looking for an exit by that point and the moderates can just hang with him for the final leadership-approved cave. Why let Pelosi take all the credit for ending a shutdown that the public dislikes when Boehner could do it himself?

He’s promising, by the way, to force Obama to negotiate over the debt ceiling — while also promising that, er, he won’t allow the country to default. I’m curious to see what negotiations look like when one party has acknowledged in advance that they won’t use their key leverage:

Following press reports that he is considering passing a debt ceiling bill with the help of Democratic votes, Speaker John Boehner assured his colleagues in a closed-door meeting that his insistence the government will not default doesn’t mean he won’t fight for spending cuts and other reforms in the bill that raises the debt ceiling.

“We are not going to default on the U.S. debt. We never have, we never will. If anybody defaults it’ll be the president who doesn’t write the check. But the speaker was very clear today that, while we’re not going to default, but there will be a negotiation. Even though the president says there will not be, there will be,” said Representative Phil Roe of Tennessee.

Boehner argued “the media is wrong,” said Representative John Fleming of Lousiana, and that Boehner’s insistence that the government will not default on its debts “shouldn’t be misconstrued as saying we’re not going to challenge Democrats in that debate.”

As a follow-up to my post earlier wondering where this all ends, read Robert Costa’s new one about which way the House GOP is tilting. A little of this, a little of that: They’re apparently going to ask for the medical-device tax to be repealed, as a token concession to whittling away at ObamaCare; some form of entitlement reform, possibly involving chained CPI and means-testing Medicare; and a “short-term mechanism” on tax reform that would point the two parties towards a bigger deal later. O won’t agree to all of that but he might agree to enough that’ll let Boehner save face sufficiently to get a majority of Republicans. It’s either that or the discharge petition — and if Obama’s gambling the debt ceiling on moderate Republicans’ willingness to vote with Pelosi, he’s gambling a lot.


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blink on October 4, 2013 at 6:19 PM

Absolutely as did the Tea Party caucus. everyone got what they wanted in that effort but the Tea Party did not get what it bargained for. At the end of the day was it really worth it?

Bradky on October 4, 2013 at 6:33 PM

Yes, it’s true that whether the House votes on a bill is almost entirely up to the Speaker. And yes, it’s also true that the minority can force the Speaker to call a vote if it files a “discharge petition” signed by 218 House members.

Isn’t it also true that the House sets its own rules? In which case, couldn’t they simply suspend the rule that allows the discharge petition and then tell Pelosi and crew to take a hike?

Stoic Patriot on October 4, 2013 at 6:35 PM

It has been a grande opportunity for the left to demonstrate how uncivilized and violent they are.

Murphy9 on October 4, 2013 at 6:35 PM

George Will on Fox News now.

Philly on October 4, 2013 at 6:39 PM

A “clean CR”? How about Harry Reid pass a Budget so there aren’t any more CR’s?

The lack of a budget is the cause of this not the lack of a “clean CR”

batterup on October 4, 2013 at 6:43 PM

Isn’t it also true that the House sets its own rules? In which case, couldn’t they simply suspend the rule that allows the discharge petition and then tell Pelosi and crew to take a hike?

Stoic Patriot on October 4, 2013 at 6:35 PM

Likely would take a 2/3rds majority to change the rules, which the Republicans, controlling 53.7% of the vote, wouldn’t be able to muster. (They were unable to pass any of their CR-funding bills under a 2/3rds vote procedure– switched off to simple majority rules the next day and passed them all.)

Really, to expect 27 Republicans to sign their own political death warrants on a Pelosi discharge petition, probably is being a little over-optimistic. Like expecting anyone to be able to enroll in an Obamacare exchange any time soon.

de rigueur on October 4, 2013 at 6:44 PM

Any mention of Pelosi deserves repetition of the “no more deficit spending” promises she made in writing and from the Speaker’s rostrum on C-SPAN:

2006:

Over the past decade, the Republican controlled Congress took our nation in the wrong direction. Too many Americans are paying a heavy price for those wrong choices: record costs for energy, health care and education; jobs shipped overseas; and budgets that heap record debt on our children. For millions, the middle-class dream has been replaced by a middle-class squeeze…

Democrats are proposing a New Direction for America…

With integrity, civility and fiscal discipline, our New Direction for America will use commonsense principles to address the aspirations and fulfill the hopes and dreams of all Americans. That is our promise to the American people….

Our federal budget should be a statement of our national values. One of those values is responsibility. Democrats are committed to ending years of irresponsible budget policies that have produced historic deficits. Instead of piling trillions of dollars of debt onto our children and grandchildren, we will restore “Pay As You Go” budget discipline.

Budget discipline has been abandoned by the Bush Administration and its Republican congressional majorities. Congress under Republican control has turned a projected $5.6 trillion 10-year surplus at the end of the Clinton years into a nearly $3 trillion deficit– including the four worst deficits in the history of America. The nation’s debt ceiling has been raised four times in just five years to more than $8.9 trillion. Nearly half of our nation’s record debt is owned by foreign countries including China and Japan. Without a return to fiscal discipline, the foreign countries that make our computers, our clothing and our toys will soon be making our foreign policy. Deficit spending is not just a fiscal problem – it’s a national security issue as well.

Our New Direction is committed to “Pay As You Go” budgeting – no more deficit spending.

2007:

After years of historic deficits, this 110th Congress will commit itself to a higher standard: pay-as-you-go, no new deficit spending. Our new America will provide unlimited opportunity for future generations, not burden them with mountains of debt.

- New Speaker Nancy Pelosi, 01/04/2007

Pelosi inherited the FY 2007 budget with a deficit less than $161 Billion and a year-end total debt that was 64.6% of GDP.

Now, at Fiscal year-end 2013 (9/30/2013), the White House OMB estimates that our debt is 106.5% of GDP.

A Balanced Budget wouldn’t require an increase in the Debt Limit, now would it?

ITguy on October 4, 2013 at 6:46 PM

The bill creates an automatic CR for any regular appropriations bill not completed before the end of the fiscal year. After the first 120 days, auto-CR funding would be reduced by one percentage point and would continue to be reduced by that margin every 90 days.”

So, if I read this correctly, this would do accross the board 1% cuts after 120 days then every 90 days til a budget is passed?

If that’s so, go for it! 4% per year. We could cut the budget 12% by the end of Obama’s term. The tea party should back it. No one has ever agreed to cuts anything like this. If I’m reading it wrong, I withdraw my support.

talkingpoints on October 4, 2013 at 6:46 PM

Here’s the grand bargain that Boehner should offer: let the Senate vote on the House CR. If it fails, the House will vote on a clean CR.

besser tot als rot on October 4, 2013 at 6:47 PM

Seriousuy, if this bill automatically cuts spending 1% every 90 days, the Republicans should bring it to the floor, pass it and then refuse to pass a budget with less than 1% cuts ever again, it’s a win-win!

talkingpoints on October 4, 2013 at 6:51 PM

I’ll call someone to scratch that out for you.

RovesChins on October 4, 2013 at 6:18 PM

We won’t mind if you take some time to learn a new letter. We’ll even wait till you get up to the top of the ASCII range.

With some continued dedicated effort you could eventually become literate. :D

I sincerely believe it.

DarkCurrent on October 4, 2013 at 6:32 PM

Funny. The language of opportunity, here and around the world is English.
Keep your scratching and your commie leanings.

RovesChins on October 4, 2013 at 6:53 PM

Dems say that if they get enough signatures, they’d be able to force a vote by October 14th.

But the Dems are the minority…..the people have spoken….elections have consequences….blah blah blah…….

BobMbx on October 4, 2013 at 6:55 PM

Funny. The language of opportunity, here and around the world is English.
Keep your scratching and your commie leanings.

RovesChins on October 4, 2013 at 6:53 PM

Yeah, that’ll last decades way things are going…

Good luck bro.

DarkCurrent on October 4, 2013 at 6:58 PM

Resist We Much on October 4, 2013 at 5:28 PM

Lolz! You should have Mr. Eggleston wade through that mess while you at it. ; )

Bmore on October 4, 2013 at 7:00 PM

The bill creates an automatic CR for any regular appropriations bill not completed before the end of the fiscal year. After the first 120 days, auto-CR funding would be reduced by one percentage point and would continue to be reduced by that margin every 90 days.

Given the absence of a budget for many years, is there a “regular appropriations bill” for Obamacare yet? If not, would passing this bill and then not passing another budget functionally defund Obamacare?

talkingpoints on October 4, 2013 at 7:02 PM

Under Bush?

Per the CRS:

06.28.02: $450 billion (P.L. 107-199)

05.27.03: $984 billion (P.L. 108-24)

11.19.04: $800 billion (P.L. 108-415)

03.20.06: $781 billion (P.L. 109-182)

09.27.07: $850 billion (P.L. 110-91)

07.30.08: $800 billion (P.L. 110-289)

10.03.08: $700 billion (P.L. 110-343)

That totals to $5.365 trillion in debt ceiling increases over a span of 8 years.

Again, Obama has increased the debt ceiling by $5.929 trillion in 4 years, 8 months, and 15 days.

But, you see, according to JustTheЯ3t@rD, $5.929 trillion is 1/3rd of $5.365 trillion or something.

Resist We Much on October 4, 2013 at 7:16 PM

If it takes a month after the discharge petition is filed, then it’s gonna take a month at least after this discharge petition is filed. Just because the discharge petition references a already introduced bill, why does that change the allotted time for bringing the not-yet-filed discharge petition to the floor? Either the original explanation here is incorrect, or it left out some tidbit. What am I missing?

TXJenny on October 4, 2013 at 7:24 PM

There are actually 2 ways default can happen, and neither can be affected in the least by the debt ceiling. Somewhere over $600 billion in Treasury securities need to be rolled over in the next 2 months.

Steve Eggleston on October 4, 2013 at 4:58 PM

.
Steve, I really respect your take on things. Would you be so good ass to provide some detials?

Thanks.

PolAgnostic on October 4, 2013 at 7:29 PM

I’m no lawyer, so am I reading that bill right that…

if there is a possible government shutdown because there has been no budget in place, then there is an AUTOMATIC CR that somehow kicks in with no haggling or vote necessary?

Then WHY HAVE A BUDGET AT ALL?

What am I missing there?

UnderstandingisPower on October 4, 2013 at 4:57 PM

Good question. I think that such a bill is probably unconstitutional because it supersedes/eliminates the House’s spending authority outlined by the Constitution. It would require a constitutional amendment to eliminate the House’s control over the purse strings as the founding fathers intended.

FloatingRock on October 4, 2013 at 8:06 PM

Bair, on some special show, just said the slowdown will be on until the debt…about 2 weeks, at least.

Schadenfreude on October 4, 2013 at 8:09 PM

Caustic Pelosi should never be negotiated with
Unless it’s to keep one boot on the democrats
Neck or to apply
Two of them.

SouthernGent on October 4, 2013 at 8:12 PM

“The religion which has introduced civil liberty is the religion of Christ and His apostles…to this we owe our free constitutions of government.”~Noah Webster

davidk on October 4, 2013 at 8:21 PM

Steve, I really respect your take on things. Would you be so good ass to provide some detials?

Thanks.

PolAgnostic on October 4, 2013 at 7:29 PM

About midway through the GWB administration, they decided to stop offering long-term (over 10 years) Treasury securities. While Obama has reinstated the 30-year bond, it represents a small portion of the securities issued the last 5+ years.

There’s a bit over $400 billion in securities maturing this month, and a bit over $200 billion maturing next month. The odds of most of that not being able to be rolled over are small – Treasury securities are still the only investment vehicle “guaranteed” to pay both principal and interest, and there are 21 primary dealers required to participate in every Treasury auction to the point of ensuring a successful auction. Of course, that’s dependent on Teh SCOAMT and Lew following the Constitution, and that’s not a sure bet.

Steve Eggleston on October 4, 2013 at 8:32 PM

Resist We Much on October 4, 2013 at 5:28 PM

Lolz! You should have Mr. Eggleston wade through that mess while you at it. ; )

Bmore on October 4, 2013 at 7:00 PM

You want me to have a stroke? ;-)

Steve Eggleston on October 4, 2013 at 8:36 PM

Steve Eggleston on October 4, 2013 at 8:36 PM

Lolz! No. ; )

Bmore on October 4, 2013 at 8:51 PM

About midway through the GWB administration, they decided to stop offering long-term (over 10 years) Treasury securities. While Obama has reinstated the 30-year bond, it represents a small portion of the securities issued the last 5+ years.

There’s a bit over $400 billion in securities maturing this month, and a bit over $200 billion maturing next month. The odds of most of that not being able to be rolled over are small – Treasury securities are still the only investment vehicle “guaranteed” to pay both principal and interest, and there are 21 primary dealers required to participate in every Treasury auction to the point of ensuring a successful auction. Of course, that’s dependent on Teh SCOAMT and Lew following the Constitution, and that’s not a sure bet.

Steve Eggleston on October 4, 2013 at 8:32 PM

.
OK, I concur on everything you’ve noted – but a failed auction is not a default …

… it is a VERY bad thing but I don’t define it as a default – the failure to service loan(s) requirements constitute a default.

The current BS being peddled in the media:

They concluded that: 1) their payment system isn’t set up to choose which bills to pay and 2) they have no legal authority to allocate money to pay bond investors and not, say, Social Security beneficiaries. That’s Congress’s job.

.
… makes me want to “enlighten” the promoters of it with a cudgel.

The Obama administration being “constrained by legal authority” EXCEPT when it’s illegal gun running or selective enforcement of laws passed by Congress or …

Like I said, CUDGELS – because I know I’ll break at least 10.

PolAgnostic on October 4, 2013 at 9:20 PM

PolAgnostic on October 4, 2013 at 9:20 PM

Given there is nearly no cash left in the till, and the auctions will be, until there is a debt-ceiling deal, just big enough to roll the principal over, a failed auction would result in a default because there won’t be enough cash to retire the portion of the debt that isn’t successfully rolled over.

If the auction was supposed to include an amount to cover the excess spending of the federal government and/or replenish the cash-on-hand account (i.e., there is a deal to raise or eliminate the debt ceiling), that excess spending would be the first to feel the effects of the failure.

As I said, it’s not a likely scenario…unless Teh SCOAMT starts refusing to pay the interest.

Steve Eggleston on October 4, 2013 at 9:33 PM

There is a difference between “not allowing default” and “not allowing us to hit the debt ceiling.”

There is no particular reason to default if the debt ceiling is hit, we have enough revenue coming in to service the debt we have, and that is all that is needed to avoid default – we roll over debt as it comes due, but that doesn’t exceed the ceiling.

The only reason we might default is if Obama orders a default because he believes he can blame Republicans.

Adjoran on October 4, 2013 at 9:33 PM

Breitbart is reporting that Obama illegally furloughed civilians employees that are critical to our nuclear defense.. in violation of a law he just signed last week?
http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2013/10/04/Obama-illegally-furloughing-defense-civilians

JellyToast on October 4, 2013 at 10:00 PM

Question: Even if there are, say, 30 centrist GOPers who say they want a clean CR, how many of them are actually willing to vote for one? And of that number, how many are willing to sign a discharge petition being organized by conservative bete noire Nancy Pelosi to make it happen?

Well I’d start tallying up that gargantuan number of republicans that you’ve told to go to hell because you don’t need them, lambasted them for being nothing but rino’s, and already just sloughed off telling to go become a democrat already then.

Then ask that question again.

Genuine on October 4, 2013 at 10:04 PM

Even the bill they want to discharge isn’t “clean” – it would cut spending without appropriations bills, and there is no prospect of the Senate passing any of those. So there are built in cuts beyond the sequester. That won’t sit well with Reid or Obama, so I expect they will strip that part out just like the ObamaCare provisions.

So then it comes back to the House, and again Boehner has the power to put it to a vote or not. So the entire exercise is just futile.

Give ‘em a B- for creativity, though. On the curve, because they are Democrats.

Adjoran on October 4, 2013 at 10:05 PM

I would love to know if any of the people Obama is shutting out of the WWII memorial, served with his grandfather.

bflat879 on October 4, 2013 at 11:12 PM

“A “clean CR”? How about Harry Reid pass a Budget so there aren’t any more CR’s?

The lack of a budget is the cause of this not the lack of a ‘clean CR’”.

LOL! The Dems in the Senate will do everything they can to to keep from having to go on record with a the vote on an “actual” budget.
They haven’t done it for years!

shorebird on October 4, 2013 at 11:19 PM

blink on October 4, 2013 at 6:19 PM

.
Absolutely as did the Tea Party caucus. everyone got what they wanted in that effort but the Tea Party did not get what it bargained for. At the end of the day was it really worth it?

Bradky on October 4, 2013 at 6:33 PM

.
? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ?
.
Uhhh, brad’ … “the end of the day” ain’t here, yet.

But when it does get here, will you be?

listens2glenn on October 5, 2013 at 12:19 AM

Unless we can prosecute the admin people who are illegally shutting things down, then this is just a big waste of time.

Boehner is flying by the seat of his pants. What is the endgame? Wait until some kind of actual disaster happens and see who the public blames?

WisCon on October 5, 2013 at 12:58 AM

Bair, on some special show, just said the slowdown will be on until the debt…about 2 weeks, at least.

Schadenfreude on October 4, 2013 at 8:09 PM

Most likely. You have to remember, the House has sent three CR’s to the Senate by close of business Monday, with the last one only including the one year delay to the mandate, and the Senate has already rejected all of them outright. The news talks about them being “miles away” but even before the shut down because there was basically nothing left to even debate.

At this point, I suspect even if the House had sent a “clean” CR, Reid in the Senate would have still found some quibble to reject it over, so they could have their political theater and yell how intransigent the Republicans are supposedly being.

Voyager on October 5, 2013 at 1:41 AM

You guys are letting people down. A little more skepticism next time?

As excerpted, auto-appropriations are as clearly unconstitutional as warring without being in a State of War; unless it merely acts as a rule, such that a CR-bill is brought to the floor for a vote (though it does not sound like this is the result).

Perhaps you believe in Wilsonian “elasticity”? Can we stop accepting abdication of responsibilities, please?

John Kettlewell on October 5, 2013 at 1:55 AM

No way this gets approved if Boehner is against it.

georgealbert on October 5, 2013 at 6:10 AM

Boehner’s negotiating leverage with the White house is but a Potemkin façade. He is, and has been a duplicitous surrender monkey in a GOP suit.

It is out fault for assuming that a cunning left wouldn’t have bothered to fill our ranks with their own-or at least friendly wimps, as has every despot and dictator who has any opposition.

Don L on October 5, 2013 at 11:02 AM

George Will on Fox News now.

Philly on October 4, 2013 at 6:39 PM

George Will is to our defense what the Maginot line was to the French only assume it is made of marshmallows.

He was, in case we forgot, the first in the gauntlet to take down Sarah Palin for the co-ruling élites in the GOP-an establishment mouthpiece and nothing more, including his erudition addiction problems

Don L on October 5, 2013 at 11:06 AM

The picture of the two former Speakers (God willing) says it all doesn’t it?
And I stopped watching Fox about 4 years ago, I only listen to AM radio.
If GOP caves in, IT IS TIME FOR A 3RD PARTY!!!!!

mmcnamer1 on October 5, 2013 at 2:24 PM

George Will is to our defense what the Maginot line was to the French only assume it is made of marshmallows.

He was, in case we forgot, the first in the gauntlet to take down Sarah Palin for the co-ruling élites in the GOP-an establishment mouthpiece and nothing more, including his erudition addiction problems

Don L on October 5, 2013 at 11:06 AM

+1000

He’s a “worse” Bill Kristol if that is possible. When did WaPo ever have conservatives on staff? And no, Kraut is a littel better version of Will, but still a liberal at heart.

Save for Red Eye there is nothing and no one worth watching on Fox for quite some time now, every time I hear one of their hosts claim he/she is a “conservative” I am ready to hurl, they are all Liberal Lite.

riddick on October 5, 2013 at 3:47 PM

How is it that anyone is talking default when all that’s required is paying interest on the debt, which we are more than capable of doing, TAXES ARE BEING COLLECTED. House should pass a bill to keep paying interest on debt until a budget is agreed to/passed and pass this bill on to Reid, let’s see Reid table it or force liberals to vote No.

Have no idea what the hoopla is. Pass the bill and force Senate to react, Reid wants to default let REID default.

riddick on October 5, 2013 at 3:53 PM

So, if I read this correctly, this would do across the board 1% cuts after 120 days then every 90 days til a budget is passed?

If that’s so, go for it! 4% per year. We could cut the budget 12% by the end of Obama’s term. The tea party should back it. No one has ever agreed to cuts anything like this.

Sackett on October 6, 2013 at 3:20 PM

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