As the federal shutdown enters its second week, pressure continues to mount for the House of Representatives to pass a “clean” continuing resolution to reopen the government. But as President Obama and Senate Democrats push Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) to hold a vote, a group of Republican Congressmen who previously said they would back a clean bill are suddenly changing their minds.
Reps. Lou Barletta (R-PA), Devin Nunes, (R-CA), Mike Simpson (R-ID), Leonard Lance, (R-NJ), and Randy Forbes (R-VA), who had all previously indicated support for a clean continuing resolution, have all recanted their support over the past 48 hours.
In an interview with ThinkProgress, Barletta’s communications director Tim Murtaugh claimed that while the Pennsylvania Republican previously thought a clean continuing resolution was “the only option,” he has since decided that a repeal of the pacemaker tax should be attached to any bill. Murtaugh suggested “the time for [a clean CR] has passed,” and that Barletta’s original comments “last Saturday night at about 1 AM” were really only supporting a continuing resolution for “a couple of weeks.”
Despite a Huffington Post recording of Rep. Nunes vowing to support such an effort, Nunes claimed Monday he had never backed a clean CR.
An October 3 press release, still on the Congressman’s official website, notes that Barletta “would support a CR that did not contain additional requirements – a so-called ‘Clean CR’ – because of his belief that changes to Obamacare are better debated during the battle over raising the nation’s debt ceiling, which Congress will take up in two weeks.”
In the days after the shutdown began, more than 20 House Republicans indicated that they wanted to end the shutdown immediately and would vote for a continuing resolution without strings attached to do so.
Although these Republicans, combined with the 200 House Democrats, would have provided ample support to pass a bill, Boehner told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on Sunday, “there are not the votes in the House to pass a clean CR.” Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY), who had backed a clean vote, blamed a lack of Democratic support, claiming, “I think that ship has sailed because I don’t think you have enough Democrat votes to cover those you lose on the Republican side.” President Obama, on Monday, challenged Boehner to prove his assertion by letting the House vote on a clean bill.
House Democrats have released letter, signed by 195 Democratic Members of Congress (and five non-voting Delegates from the District of Columbia and U.S. territories), backing an immediate vote. The five other House Democrats also also told ABC News that they would also vote for a clean continuing resolution. The Democrats have also repeatedly attempted to use a procedural maneuver to bring up the Senate-passed continuing resolution, but their efforts were defeated on party-line votes.