Obama to dare Boehner to hold vote on 'clean' government funding bill
By Justin Sink - 10/07/13 12:36 PM ET
President Obama will dare Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Monday to prove there aren’t enough votes in the House to pass a “clean” bill to reopen the government.
Obama will issue the challenge during an unannounced visit to the Federal Emergency Management Agency on Monday.
The move is in response to Boehner’s assertion Sunday on ABC’s “This Week” that there aren’t enough votes in the House to pass a government funding bill without additional concessions to Republicans.
The White House immediately questioned that assertion, noting media reports that more than 20 Republicans had voiced a willingness to vote for that type of bill. Most Democrats in the House are also be expected to support it.
“The administration and Democrats in Congress are asking the Speaker to prove that a majority in the House would not vote for the Senate-passed bill to reopen the government by holding an up-or-down vote on the clean Continuing Resolution to end this impasse that is impacting vital services provided by agencies across government, including FEMA,” a White House official said.
“The president will also urge Congress to act to raise the debt limit and avoid a default that would have catastrophic impacts on our economy, our businesses, and families across the country."
In the television interview, Boehner also said the House could not pass a clean hike of the debt ceiling. The Treasury Department has said it will not have enough funds to pay the nation’s bills as of Oct. 17.
A spokesman for the House Speaker said that the president's visit to FEMA headquarters underscored Obama's unwillingness to come to the table for discussions about the budget and debt ceiling.
The White House has threatened to veto a series of piecemeal continuing resolutions that would fund popular and visible aspects of the federal government, including FEMA and national parks and museums.
“The bill passed the House last week and is awaiting action by Senate Democrats. If the president and Washington Democrats want FEMA up and running, they have the ability to make it happen today,” Boehner spokesman Brendan Buck said.
During the visit to FEMA, Obama also will thank employees who worked over the weekend to prepare for a pair of violent storms in the Midwest and Gulf Coast.