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

    You have to wonder why the speaker really wont put the clean CR to a vote, everyone knows it will pass including him. The problem is the minute he does and it passes he will look like the biggest liar on the hill and his job as speaker will be over. And by the way, there is no "if" obamacare becomes law. It already is a law, popular or not it was voted on by both houses, passed, signed by the president and upheld by the supreme court. If you don't like the law there are ways to change it. Shutting down the government is not it. Anyone who took High school political Science knows that.

    October 8, 2013 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  2. enuminous

    At this point, not calling a vote is tantamount to treason. This is blackmail, plain and simple. If nobody levies sanctions against the Congressmen (and I use the term loosely) then the voters need to have long memories come next election.

    October 8, 2013 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  3. OKfine

    @Reasonable Man
    Great post. You nailed it.

    October 8, 2013 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  4. knklhead

    PUT IT TO VOTE, BOEHNER! Won't you be so happy if it "doesn't have the votes" that you say it does after the votes are tallied? There is some serious money/pressure from some other outside group here people. Follow the money.

    October 8, 2013 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  5. Scott Cisney

    So this man made crises could end, today, if "we wanted it to"? Well, this kinduv throws out the blame the bums on both sides arguement! One guy could make ONE decision and this mess is over. Humm...something needs to be shutdown. It is the republican party!

    October 8, 2013 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  6. SMH

    We Americans love our short term solutions that distract us from long term problems. Sure, bring it to a vote today, a clean CR will pass, and everyone can high five and quickly go back to work and ignore the larger problem that is the long term consequences of the ACA. Passing a clean CR does not fix anything, it simply conforms to what our government has been doing for years, ignoring fiscal problems by kicking it down the road. We cannot ignore mathematics forever.

    October 8, 2013 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  7. Long

    "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."

    October 8, 2013 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  8. Steven Brown

    By insisting that the president must negotiate, Boehner ignores the fact that the president is not the legislative branch of government. It is a matter for the House to decide, and Boehner will not allow them to vote. This tyrant Boehner does not speak for the American people but for the voters of the 8th congressional district of Ohio.

    October 8, 2013 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  9. ted

    SmokenJoe ! get over it you lost twice, The first time you try to make Obama a one term President how did that work out. Now GOP are holding the country hostage for ransom.

    October 8, 2013 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  10. Anonymous

    I have little faith in the Republicans, they have been on a rant since Obama was elected the first time and it's gotten only worse after the second victory. Their hatret for President Obama has no limits and is and has been at the crux of everything they do. I don't see how this all will be resolved until the obstructionists have been voted out.

    October 8, 2013 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  11. sammy750

    Boehner keeps moving on what he wants to talk about with Obama. Is it really the debt ceiling or telling Obama he is holding the nation as a hostage with his actions.

    October 8, 2013 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  12. freya23

    When was the last time a clean bill on anything was passed?

    I'm so sick of our representatives being incapable of passing a clean anything. They never actually work out their differences and just vote on a single issue. It is always convoluted with attached pet issues that oftenaren't relevant to the main issue. It is a ridiculous way to run government and a total cop out. As a result issues are just forever deferred or solutions are dribbled out piecemeal. DO. YOUR. JOBS.!

    Who else has a job where you get away with not really handling the issues that hit your desk? I'm in the public sector too, and I certainly can't get away with that.

    October 8, 2013 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  13. OKfine

    Laura Gendreau-
    You are barking up the wrong tree

    October 8, 2013 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  14. Woody's Hay

    Boehner, Obama did negotiate and compromise with you. And you said, about you and your Republican cohorts, "We got 98% of what we wanted." (A truly admirable achievement, I must say ... I don't know any union contract negotiations where the union members got 98% of what they wanted)

    Of course, you went back to your Teahadist minority, and they told you to reject your very own compromise.

    You have been putting your face on this battle from day one. Own up to it.

    October 8, 2013 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  15. tcinaz

    Republicans decided to shut the government down in fit of pique about being unable through legislative or judicial channels to bring about the repeal of Obamacare that some Tea Partyites promised in their campaigns. The evidence is clear from the Supreme Court decision through 41 other failed repeal House votes to the work finally of Ed Meese's group after Obama's reelection. The only proof needed that the votes exist to end this charade is the fact that Boehner will not hold a vote. If he thought it would confirm the Republican strategy and keep the government shut down, he would not hesitate to hold that vote.

    October 8, 2013 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  16. rs

    Norm

    Sounds like Boehner took a page out of Harry Reid's playbook. How many budgets has Harry not put to the vote in the Senate.
    __________________________
    How many of the "budgets" passed by the House were actually budgets? Most were versions of Ryan's 20 page white paper, i.e. not budgets, and NOT for America.

    October 8, 2013 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  17. bill39

    Mr. Boehner: stop playing games. Take a vote on a clean CR.

    Otherwise, can we impeach Boehner? If so, let's do it.

    October 8, 2013 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  18. sammy750

    The votes are there to pass a clean CR. On cable TV last night they named all the names who would vote YEA, including 17 Republicans

    October 8, 2013 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  19. John

    How is it "liberal propaganda" when they have named each republican who stated they would support a clean CR? Why is it whenever anyone has an opposing view we just leap to calling them liars? "I don't believe the liberal media", no you don't "agree" with the liberal media there is a big difference. And who started the whole "I don't believe the liberal media" slogan, oh yeah their competitors in the conservative media. Lemmings

    October 8, 2013 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  20. The Catskinner

    This is a Canadian perspective laced with objectivity: If Speaker Boehner is afraid to let the House VOTE on a clean bill, he needs to revisit the definition of democracy. He was elected by a small constituency in Ohio; the President was elected in a national vote. If Boehner continues to refuse the representatives of the American public to vote on a clean bill to fund their own government, he is guilty of treason and should be arrested for denying The Great American Democracy the opportunity to function as it was designed by Washington, Jefferson, Adams, Franklin and the other founders. He is dangerously close to Fascism.

    October 8, 2013 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  21. Josh Scott

    The Dems are completely to blame for this.
    The ACA passed by Congress is not the same with the 19 amendments that Obama has inserted virtually by himself. Some of these amendments are as outrageous as
    1. Restaurants in Nancy Pelosi's district get an exemption from the mandate.
    2. Congress staffers get tax subsidies on their government issued insurance but not the rest of the country, etc.

    We elected Congress to tie the hands of a mad spending President and that is what the House is doing. Too bad the Senate does not have enough people with a backbone.

    October 8, 2013 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  22. Peter Wexler

    How is it that a minority of legislators have gained so much control of our legislative process?

    October 8, 2013 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  23. Jerry

    The republican need to organize(better than they are now) and stop this mess right now... No starting the Govt back and NO debt ceiling raise until we cut the out of control spending....

    October 8, 2013 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  24. BmanC

    Do these whack-jobs understand that they are hurting people? Yes, but the real question is, do they care??? I put them all in the same box anymore... Dems, Repubs, The POTUS, and the so-called Tea Party are all to blame in my estimation, and yes, they are all whack-jobs. Any candidate anymore needs to get in bed with big business if they want campaign donations. So, we end up with "biased leadership" that can't see the forest for the trees. Think hard when you vote people!

    October 8, 2013 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  25. Federal Public Health

    Let the House vote! It's not going to hurt them to put in a vote for the reopening of the Government. They're not looking at the bigger picture of who they're hurting. They are still getting paid to sit and dispute over the situation at hand, whereas, the working class who are funded with Federal money have to deal with being jobless and the angry Citizens who will be without aid from certain programs. If you had that big of a problem with ObamaCare you should have said so three years ago when it was first spoken of, not now. So stop being inconsiderate and vote on reopening the Government and ObamaCare.

    October 8, 2013 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
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