The three Republican Congressmen who represent Philadelphia’s suburbs all say they support a ‘clean’ continuing resolution (CR) to reopen the federal government. But none of them seem ready to join Democrats to force the issue on the House floor.
“This discharge petition is more of the same hyper-partisanship that got us into this situation in the first place, and does not represent a serious attempt to govern responsibly,” said Rep. Jim Gerlach (R-Chester).
If a majority of House members sign a discharge petition, they can compel House Speaker John Boehner to call a vote on a bill that would end the government shutdown.
Unlike other GOP-supported bills, the clean CR would include no language to defend or delay the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare). It funds the entire government rather than the ad hoc bills the House has passed in recent days.
But it is highly unusual for House members to sign a discharge petition in defiance of party leadership. No Republican has thus far signed onto it.
Reps. Gerlach and Pat Meehan (R-Delaware) said they won’t support the move. Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R-Bucks) did not respond to repeated requests for comment.
“Rep. Meehan will not support a discharge petition. To my knowledge, not a single House Republican has indicated any interest in being part of a discharge petition,” said spokesman John Elizandro.
“We need to do better than sign a petition that’s going nowhere, we need to reach an agreement with Democrats and Republicans to reopen the government. That’s what Rep. Meehan is working to do.”
A discharge petition is also no sure bet. Even if it was successful, under House rules the vote would not occur until October 28. That’s 11 days after another crucial deadline when the country is projected to reach the federal debt ceiling. Many observers say a discharge petition could threaten any potential for a debt ceiling deal.
there are additional procedural barriers that Speaker Boehner could use to delay a discharge vote.
Republicans have criticized the discharge move as a public relations effort to undercut Boehner. They criticize Senate Democrats for refusing to consider a handful of House-passed billed to fund certain government programs in a piecemeal fashion.
“Last week, I said that I would support a clean continuing resolution if one came to the floor. That still stands, and I remain focused on working with my House colleagues on a bipartisan solution to get the federal government re-opened,” Gerlach continued.
Gerlach and Meehan said the would still vote for a clean CR despite the fact that Rep. Lou Barletta (R-Luzerne) withdrew his support on Tuesday.
Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Lehigh) has taken a high-profile role in the shutdown debate and would vote for a clean CR, but has similarly ruled out signing a discharge petition.