Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 6, 2016

Democrats Plan to Discharge GOP Bill to End Shutdown (Updated)

Castro, Napolitano, George Miller

Miller, right, is heading up a Democratic plan to end the government shutdown by bringing up a GOP measure through a discharge petition. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)

Updated: 3:13 p.m. | House Democrats are moving ahead with a plan to discharge a GOP bill that automatically funds the government, advancing a course that could eventually end the government shutdown — if enough Republicans cooperate.

Democrats announced Friday afternoon that they would file a discharge petition on a bill sponsored by Rep. James Lankford, R-Okla., that has been waiting for action by the Appropriations Committee since March.

As CQ Roll Call reported Friday, Republicans have had a long history with the plan; many in the GOP have endorsed the idea over the years, including former Sen. Jim DeMint, Sen. Mitch McConnell and Reps Paul D. Ryan and Jeb Hensarling.

The discharge petition would not simply adopt the Lankford bill, which would give 100 percent funding for 120 days before exacting a 1 percent cut every 90 days if the government does not produce funding bills.

Instead, the discharge petition would offer language to substitute Lankford’s bill with a clean CR to Nov. 15. Democrats think they have the votes for the plan.

“We’ve had some conversations,” said Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., who is heading up the plan with Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md.

Miller said they have spoken to “a range of Republicans” who they feel could support the plan, and believe they could sign them up in a day after a week for the petition to ripen.

“So this discharge petition gives them the opportunity to do that,” Miller said. “They’re obviously not happy with the current plan. You can burn a lot of fingers here when you mindlessly shutdown the government.”

Democrats will bring around the discharge petition over the next seven days. Because Lankford introduced the bill in March, it has already ripened in an initial stage of the discharge process.

Democrats said it could lead to a House vote by Oct. 14, though even if it were to get through the chamber, it would be subject to filibusters in the Senate. Republicans, however, disputed that timeline. A GOP aide said it would likely be weeks before the petition would be privileged on the floor, and even then, it can only be called up on the second and fourth Mondays of the month.

Still, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., called the bid “an attempt for us in a bipartisan way to open up government.” It was first suggested by the dean of the House, Rep. John D. Dingell, D-Mich.

Dingell ripped Republicans, saying they “petulantly go about their business like spoiled children,” and said the discharge petition was an attempt to “rescue” the GOP from a shutdown of their own making.

Brendan Buck, spokesman for Speaker John A. Boehner, dismissed the plot on Twitter.

Doug Heye, a spokesman for Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., said, “Those kinds of parliamentary tactics inevitably draw headlines, but rarely bring successful results.”

It was unclear how many in the GOP would actually sign the petition, but more than 20 moderate Republicans have been quietly revolting and are showing support for a clean CR, including: Peter T. King of New York, Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania, Michael G. Grimm of New York, Mike Simpson of Idaho, Devin Nunes of California, C.W. Bill Young of Florida, Erik Paulsen of Minnesota, Frank A. LoBiondo of New Jersey, Leonard Lance of New Jersey, Jon Runyan of New Jersey, Lou Barletta of Pennsylvania, Jim Gerlach of Pennsylvania, Michael G. Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, Patrick Meehan of Pennsylvania, Frank R. Wolf of Virginia, J. Randy Forbes of Virginia, Rob Wittman of Virginia and Scott Rigell of Virginia.

The other procedure available to Democrats is to defeat the previous question, which House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said would give Democrats the opportunity force a clean CR to the floor. But so far, Republicans haven’t been willing to vote with Democrats to do so, he said.

“They tell me that their guys are being threatened if they do anything like that,” Hoyer said of Republicans. He added that “sticking with your party in this instance … means the people’s government is shut down.”

  • Nicko Thime

    “The discharge petition would not simply adopt the Lankford bill, which would give 100 percent funding for 120 days before exacting a 1 percent cut every 90 days if the government does not produce funding bills.”

    A better idea would be to exact a 1% penalty of their pay every DAY that they don’t take care of business.

    • William J. Hamilton

      Unconstitutional, you can’t reduce their pay while in office. Convenient for them.

      • lloydsev

        You also can’t increase it.

  • john webb

    Peter King wants to be President. Hopefully, he understands he will stand a better chance running as a Democrat. Nice strategy.

    • Peter Garuccio

      Peter King doesn’t want to be president. He wants a higher profile heading into what will be the political fight for his life in re-election.

      • Tess

        It’s a tough time to be a Republican in New York, so leading the charge to make Republicans behave “sensibly” is a smart move politically.

    • fed up fed

      he should run as valet, he stands a better chance. F NY

  • FredBeloit

    Hoyvey says: “…means the people’s government is shut down.”

    But a lot of the people want it shut down. Why does Steny hate the people?

    • DC Spence

      The people who want the government shut down are simpletons. I don’t think Rep. Hoyer hates these simpletons, he simply believes that the wishes of stupid people should not drive policy making.

      • 2197_uxo_1

        Keep it shut down. If it prevents anymore damage to the first ten amendments.

    • Leanne Musson Watts

      I’m suspecting that by the way the Dems keep refusing to negotiate or take small bills to fund various depts. that they WANT the government shut down! Why? Because if everyone is paying attention to this they’re not wondering or working on the scandals; Benghazi, IRS, Fast & Furious…..

  • pitch1934

    I would prefer a discharge bill that discharges all of the intransigent politicians in D.C.

  • EWS

    “Those kinds of parliamentary tactics inevitably draw headlines, but rarely bring successful results.”
    Kind of the point. You keep dressing up in lab coats and claiming it’s the dems fault. Well here is your chance to prove it.

  • marji80

    Terrifying that Peter King is apparently a moderate in this scenario.

    • wildrover4

      “Moderate” is really being used a substitute for “sane.”

      • 2197_uxo_1

        RINOs’ each and every one.

    • fed up fed

      hes a ny ahole

  • jdubhub68

    What’s sad is 80 Teapublicans are holding the rest of the House Republicans hostage and feckless Speaker Boehner–who is likely to get primaried next year anyway–is allowing the hostage takers to hold everyone hostage. The so-called Hastert Rule that Boehner is invoking so he doesn’t have to do anything isn’t even supported in this case by Dennis Hastert.

  • ducdebrabant

    “but more than 20 moderate Republicans have been quietly revolting” … While the non moderates have been revolting at the top of their voices.

  • Jimh77

    It’s tie to fire the entire government. They are just way too expensive and way too high a maintenance to keep.

    • fed up fed


  • easton

    Ah, the old discharge petition move. Zero percent of the time it works every time.
    Except, of course when it worked with Shays-Meehan in the House (also known by its Senate name McCain Feingold)
    Poor Mr. Buck doesn’t even know the history of his own chamber.

  • mjnellett

    There are no “moderates” anymore in either party. When you are a “go along, to get along” politician, your job is more important to you than the people you serve at home. If Obamacare is so important to Obama, and the progressives, then why have they granted so many waivers to everyone, including themselves, EXCEPT to ordinary taxpayers? These “democrats” don’t care about anything except power. They are willing to lie, cheat, and steal to maintain that power regardless of what happens to the American public. Wake up America, before it really is too late!

  • lcuvillier

    We need to remember these names in 2014 and primary every single one of them for selling this country out to obamacare.

    • fed up fed

      replace them with more of the same. no thanks. they all suk

      • lcuvillier

        So what are you going to do? Re-elect the same slime back in. If we fire a mess of them, then they will get the picture. Then the next election cycle, fire those guys too – we need to keep them on their toes instead of letting them screw us all the time. I say we stick it to them.

  • fed up fed

    these millionaire politicians make me sick. please go jump off the nearest bridge, you fat lazy incompetent focks.

  • Macc Mosley

    This is all over Obamacare, This is now the law of the land the time for debate is over it was even upheld by the Supreme Court so get over it Mr Speaker you have a country to worry about.

  • livfreeordi

    Reading this on October 11th. didn’t go anywhere.
    Just more liberal hyperventilation. and wishful thinking.

  • mabramso

    Of course, this is pretty short-term. And we would go through the whole thing over again in November. Not very productive …

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