GOP thwarts Dem move to force vote on ‘clean’ spending bill
By Pete Kasperowicz - 10/04/13 03:03 PM ET
House Republicans on Friday stood firm against a move by Democrats to call up the Senate's continuing resolution funding the government.
The vote came on the fourth day of the government shutdown, and is an indication the House GOP remains united in its effort to press ahead with smaller spending bills for the next several days.
Democrats, in contrast, want a vote on a "clean" funding plan passed by the Senate that funds all of the government, including ObamaCare.
Friday's House vote came up at the end of debate on a rule that will allow the GOP to call up nearly a dozen smaller spending bills on issues like disaster aid, nuclear weapon safety, nutrition and education.
Before the rule vote, Democrats called on members to vote against the "previous question," a procedural move that could allow Democrats to call up the Senate's continuing resolution.
Democrats said more than 20 House Republicans have indicated they would vote for the Senate's "clean" spending bill at this point to end the shutdown, and tried to coax these wavering Republicans to vote against GOP leaders.
"Those members of the majority who claim that they want to end the government shutdown get the opportunity today to stand up and vote," Rules Committee ranking member Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) said on the House floor.
However, no Republicans went against their leadership, and the House easily voted down the Democratic maneuver, 223-184. Republicans were also unanimously against this move when Democrats tried it on Wednesday.
The vote was finished just minutes after Democrats announced they have filed a discharge petition to get a vote on a clean spending bill. That effort will also require Republican support.
Debate on the rule itself was essentially a repeat of the debate that has been heard on the House floor for the last several days. Democrats argued that Republicans are responsible for shutting down the government by failing to call up the Senate bill.
Republicans reiterated their argument that the government could be funded if Democrats were willing to negotiate, and that Democrats continue to turn away even non-controversial spending bills in the meantime.
"Unfortunately for the American people, not much has changed," said Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.). "The Senate is still recalcitrant, unwilling to consider legislation that would re-open parts of the government."
After debate, members passed the rule 222-183; one Republican voted against it.
With these votes, the House is now in a position to debate and pass two of these smaller spending resolutions today — one funds the Federal Emergency Management Agency, while the other funds a nutrition program for low-income women and children.
The rule also lets the House consider several other bills in the coming days. On Saturday, the House is expected to pass a bill ensuring that all federal workers furloughed under the shutdown receive back pay once the shutdown is over.
The retroactive pay bill has bipartisan support, and the Obama administration on Friday endorsed it while remaining opposed to the GOP's "piecemeal" approach to the spending bills.
The rule also provides for "same-day" authority through Oct. 21, which means the House will be able to consider a bill on the same day that the Rules Committee approves a rule for that bill — normally, a day must pass before bills can to from Rules to the floor.
And it allows the House to consider suspension bills on any day through Oct. 20. Usually, votes on non-controversial suspension bills are held only on Monday or Tuesday.