Votes are there to break shutdown, but not the will
October 8th, 2013
09:10 AM ET
12 months ago

Votes are there to break shutdown, but not the will

Updated 10/9/2013 at 8:00 a.m.

Washington (CNN) – There appeared to be enough votes in the House on Wednesday to approve legislation to reopen the federal government, according to an ongoing CNN survey of House members.

CNN's vote count

All 200 Democrats and 19 Republicans support passing a continuing resolution with no additional legislative strings attached that would reopen the federal government, which has been partially closed for a week over a bitter policy dispute between Republicans and Democrats on health care. With three vacancies in 435 member House, 217 votes are currently the minimum needed for the measure to win approval in the House.

CNN's vote count appears to bear out what President Barack Obama said on Monday.

"The truth of the matter is, there are enough Republican and Democratic votes in the House of Representatives right now to end this shutdown immediately with no partisan strings attached," Obama said.

But this does not mean a vote will happen any time soon, given that these Republicans have not indicated a willingness to try to force Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, to bring a continuing resolution with no strings attached to the floor for a vote. After a meeting with Republicans on Tuesday, Republican Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma told CNN that the speaker told members there would not be a House vote on a "clean" government funding bill.

The clean CR is at the center of the dispute between Obama and Republicans, the latter trying to use the government shutdown as a legislative avenue to help defund the president's health care law. Many House Republicans are demanding that passage of a continuing resolution is contingent on the health care law being delayed – the first step in an effort they hope to use to dismantle it. The president and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, have said that the GOP's efforts are a non-starter.

As is the case with all vote counts, the numbers continually evolve and change by the hour and day.

Still, Boehner has maintained that there are not enough votes in the House to pass a "clean" CR.

"There are not the votes in the House to pass a clean CR," the speaker said Sunday on ABC's "This Week." "The American people expect in Washington, when we have a crisis like this, that the leaders will sit down and have a conversation. I told my members the other day, there may be a back room somewhere, but there's nobody in it."

Republican Rep. Charles Dent of Pennsylvania disagreed with the speaker's assessment. He told CNN on Monday that if the vote were to come to the floor, he believes it would pass.

"I believe a clean CR would pass comfortably," said Dent. "I'm not here to predict the number, I think it would clear the 217 vote barrier."

In response, Obama dared Boehner on Monday to prove that he doesn't have the votes for a clean continuing resolution.

"If Republicans and Speaker Boehner are saying there are not enough votes then they should prove it," Obama said. "Let the bill go to the floor, and let's see what happens. Just vote."

On Monday, as Democrats trumpeted other vote counts that appeared to show there are enough votes in the House to pass a clean government funding bill, a number of lawmakers began to walk back previous statements.

Republican Rep. Devin Nunes of California was one of those lawmakers. After telling Huffington Post and others that he supported a government funding bill with no strings attached, his spokesman said Monday that "that was never the case."

"He does not support a clean CR, does not support it, does not advocate it," said Jack Langer, a spokesman for Nunes.

Republicans Leonard Lance of New Jersey and Randy Forbes of Virginia, who other news outlets report have supported a clean government funding bill, told CNN on Monday that they did not back the measure.

"Reports that Randy Forbes supports a 'clean' CR are not true," a Forbes said. "This was misrepresented in a story by the Virginian Pilot (newspaper), which subsequently was picked up by HuffPo and other national outlets – none of which bothered to contact our office to verify."

Instead, Forbes has introduced legislation that would fund all of the government except Obamcare, the aide said.

Not all Republicans moved away from voting for a government funding bill with no strings attached.

Late on Monday, Republican Rep. David Reichert of Washington said he would "continue to vote for any legislation that keeps the federal government open."

Likewise on Tuesday, Republican Rep. Mike Coffman of Colorado announced he supported a government funding bill with no strings attached in a Denver Post opinion-editorial and Republican Rep. Walter B. Jones of North Carolina said he wished the House "would pass a clean CR" during an interview with MSNBC.

Other Republican members, like Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart of Florida, would not confirm a report from the Miami Herald that said the lawmaker would support a clean resolution.

"The president needs to sit down and negotiate with the speaker," Cesar Gonzalez, a spokesman for Diaz-Balart, said. "In the meantime, the congressman does not think it is wise to negotiate through the press."

The 19 Republicans who support a government funding bill with no strings attached are:

Walter B. Jones, R-North Carolina: Said during an interview with MSNBC that he wished the House "would pass a clean CR."

Mike Coffman, R-Colorado: Announced he supported a government funding bill with no strings attached in a Denver Post opinion-editorial.

Tim Griffin, R-Arkansas: "Tweeted the he would support a clean government funding bill."

Bill Young, R-Florida: A spokesman tells CNN that Young would support a clean government funding bill.

Dennis Ross, R-Florida: A spokeswoman told CNN Ross would support a one-year government funding bill at sequestration levels with no strings attached.

Mike Simpson, R-Idaho: Statement: "Similar to Sen. Rand Paul, I could support a very short-term clean CR, perhaps one or two weeks, while we continue to negotiate on a longer-term bill."

Frank LoBiondo, R-New Jersey: LoBiondo penned an editorial in the Philadelphia Inquirer that said he supported a clean government funding bill.

Jon Runyan, R- New Jersey: Runyan penned an editorial in the Philadelphia Inquirer that said he supported a clean government funding bill.

Pete King, R-New York: Told CNN he supports passing a clean government funding bill.

Michael Grimm, R-New York: Grimm told CNN he would support a clean government funding bill.

Jim Gerlach, R-Penn.: A spokesman told CNN that Gerlach would support a clean government funding bill if it came to the floor.

Pat Meehan, R-Penn.: Statement on October 1: "I believe it’s time for the House to vote for a clean, short-term funding bill."

Michael Fitzpatrick, R-Penn.: Fitzpatrick penned an editorial in the Philadelphia Inquirer that said he supported a clean government funding bill.

Lou Barletta, R-Penn.: A spokesman told CNN that Barletta would vote yes if a clean government funding bill came to the floor. On Tuesday morning, the spokesman said while Barletta is now focused on passing a compromise that includes repealing of the medical device tax, it is fair to include him as a yes vote for a funding bill with no strings attached.

Charles Dent, R-Penn.: Told CNN he supports a clean government funding bill. "I think now it's imperative that we just fund the government," he said.

Robert Wittman, R-Virgina: A spokeswoman tell CNN Wittman would vote yes on a clean government funding bill.

Scott Rigell, R-Virginia: Told CNN on October 1 that he supported passing a clean government funding bill.

Frank Wolf, R-Virginia: A spokesman tells CNN that Wolf will support a clean government funding bill.

David Reichert, R-Washington: October 7 statement: "I will continue to vote for any legislation that keeps the federal government open."

– CNN's Laura Koran and Deirdre Walsh contributed to this report


Filed under: Government Shutdown
soundoff (981 Responses)
  1. enoughalready2309

    Armyman2007: They can do that after an actual vote. What is Boehner afraid of by putting it to a vote? If the Clean CR doesn't have the votes, that is an absolute win for the republicans. Debating in the public media about whether there are votes are not isn't a win for either side. Only Boehner can end this debate by putting it to an actual vote. Then we all will have proof about who was right and wrong.

    October 8, 2013 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  2. Jared Harris

    Canada is starting to sound nice.

    October 8, 2013 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  3. Bettie

    I don't care who said what , what us Americans care about is our country . Or is still our country ??? Do any of you care about our service men and women who served our country -gave their life's and their families are suffering? Do any of you care there are people without a paycheck and their family has kids to feed,bills and Christmas is coming? Does anyone there have a heart? Just remember this as you sit there and eat a nice dinner and your family has security. You may have it now, but one day Karma will come back and kick you all where it needs to be kicked. Remember , this future applies to your children , grand children and great grand children. It will be time to vote again before you know it , and trust me , this time many people will remember your names and know who not to vote for. Why not try getting on your knees and asking God to help this country because it shows none of you all know anything about that ,,

    October 8, 2013 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  4. woody

    @joedog. There are currently 3 vacant seats in the house. You do the math.

    October 8, 2013 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  5. XR

    Seems trivial, given the CR is only a temporary measure that will open the government for a whopping 30 more days.

    October 8, 2013 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  6. Patrick

    It's better if staying closed, more peace and quite.

    October 8, 2013 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  7. Bill

    CNN "verifies" that there are enough votes in the headline, but in the articles says that the vote count actually changes hour by hour, and so at any given time the votes may not actually be there.

    That is some crackin' jernilizm, CNN!

    October 8, 2013 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  8. JW

    Well I think Mr. Boehner, is no better then the President. He says that the President is not being reasonable well neither is he. It's like get over it. The Obamacare is already up and running. Deal with it.

    October 8, 2013 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  9. Bubba Ray

    If Reagan can refuse to accept anything other than a clean spending bill then there is no reason Obama can't do the same. Obama isn't trying to attach conditions to it, Republicans are.

    October 8, 2013 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  10. gail

    We won't be able to pay our bills because of this. Enough already. I guess the GOP doesn't care if more people lose their homes? They get paid but we don't, this is disgusting.

    October 8, 2013 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  11. Jeremy

    If John Boehner would allow the house to vote, the government shutdown would end. But he won't. So now, instead of the whole country being held hostage by the Tea Party, it is now being held hostage just by the Tea Party of Ohio's 8th congressional district, which has been gerrymandered so badly that Boehner ran unopposed in the last election.

    October 8, 2013 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  12. steve

    Whats interesting is CNN is shining a virtuous light on Boehner for not allowing a vote in the House, causing the shutdown to be prolonged. How about the half dozen bills the House proposed that Reid refused to allow the Senate to vote on? Where is the righteous indignation for his blocking a vote?

    October 8, 2013 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  13. sara

    CNN doing the bidding of their favorite administration. Propagandists!

    October 8, 2013 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  14. Missourian

    Boehner said what?.....What is he talking about now?...This guy has lost it.
    Thought a clean CR was the issue? Now he quotes about the debt ceiling.Talk about bait and switch.
    Does he think Americans are that stupid?

    October 8, 2013 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  15. Rj

    "The fact that we are here today to debate raising America 's debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the US Government cannot pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government's reckless fiscal policies. Increasing America 's debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that, "the buck stops here.' Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better." ~ Senator Barack H. Obama, March 2006

    October 8, 2013 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  16. bobh

    how did America get to a place where one(1) person "Boehner" can shut down the entire government and cause such distress/harm for/to all Americans.

    October 8, 2013 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  17. What planet is this?

    first time in the history of this country...the minority rules!

    October 8, 2013 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  18. Lynda/Minnesota

    I am perplexed. Are we getting our info here on the comment section from Lonely Hearts Fan Club TeaPers? Or from the Brothers-Koch's 6,000 strong paid talking point stooges, or from Fox and Friends?

    How to shutdown the United States government in three easy steps:

    Chapter 5 (2013 version); Lie. Lie. Lie; A Continuing GOP Narrative.

    October 8, 2013 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  19. wesley

    I served 7 years to this country and now that im broken and the army put me out.I have a separation payment due to me 38000 dollars for my back. How come I have to pay my bills but the gov doesn't

    October 8, 2013 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  20. Bobby G

    Folks – come on! CNN survey announcing enough votes in House? What was result of the CNN survey in Senate regards the individual funding bills already sent to the Speaker? Would the Senate vote to approve any of these bills? If they did approve all or any, would President Obama veto them? Harry Reid, Boehner, and the President each have an opportunity to mitigate the impact of the partial government shut down – all appear unwilling. Whether you are affiliated with Republican or Democrat, we as Americans should be disappointed with all of our representatives.

    October 8, 2013 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  21. Jonathan Lotegeluaki

    Sad and pathetic...That's congress for you. Most of these politicians are already wealthy pigs. They could really care less about the people being hurt by this shutdown. they care more about holding on to their posts- especially the Teabagger republicans who have the sad and pathetic Boehner pinned beneath their boots. I used to respect Boehner but now I don't know. He seems terrified of the teabaggers. I wish he would grow some balls and reassert himself as the speaker of the house. This entire congress is a joke...Dems and Repubs.

    October 8, 2013 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  22. flaccotoboldin

    The only way to know whether there are enough votes is to let a vote be taken. If there aren't enough votes as Boehner and some commenters on CNN suggest, then what is the harm in allowing the vote? Is the house too busy doing something else?

    The fact is, Boehner is spineless and afraid that once a vote takes place, if its for government to be open the Tea Party extremists will go after his job as speaker. What he ignores is that the majority of his party may ACTUALLY be rational and understand that legitimate elections are the way to get the change you want, not terrorist tactics of a desperate minority.

    October 8, 2013 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  23. JohnQ

    I cannot wait to vote againist the Republicans in the upcoming elections.

    October 8, 2013 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  24. Bob

    GOP: "Give us our way or we'll blow up the economy!!"

    October 8, 2013 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  25. Mrspkr

    All 200 dems in lockstep with their leader and not representing their districts…...

    October 8, 2013 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
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