Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
September 17, 2014

GOP Lawmakers Heckled at Outdoor Press Conference

gop100213 445x296 GOP Lawmakers Heckled at Outdoor Press Conference

Furloughed federal workers protested at a House GOP press conference Wednesday. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

On day two of the government shutdown, House Republicans gathered on the West Front Terrace of the Capitol to urge Democrats to support their latest strategy to fund the government.

But the news conference was disrupted by protesters who heckled lawmakers over the lapse in essential services and the furloughs of federal workers because of Congress’ failure to pass a continuing resolution.

“Pass the budget! Let us work!” they shouted.

Approximately 20 protesters, who held signs asking for the government to be reopened, chanted loudly behind lawmakers for the entire news conference. Reporters could still hear members speaking over the din, but the protesters was disruptive enough to prompt House Majority Leader Eric Cantor to acknowledge them.

“I hear the folks who are here behind us,” the Virginia Republican said, “and I’m as frustrated as they are.”

Despite the protest, Republicans urged Democrats to support the GOP’s strategy of bringing mini-CRs to the floor to restart various functions of the government.

Republicans also criticized Democrats for voting against the nation’s veterans. They expressed concern about the fact that veterans had been temporarily blocked from visiting the National World War II Memorial. On Tuesday, visiting WW II veterans stormed the shutdown barricades with help from their friendly Republican congressmen.

“I’m proud that the men who faced down the bayonets of the Japanese, who faced down the machine guns of the Germans, were not deterred by the bike racks of the Park Police,” said freshmen Rep. Richard Hudson, R-N.C.

Democrats, of course, want a vote on a “clean” continuing resolution that funds the government at sequester levels, sans policy riders that defund or delay Obamacare. And they aren’t inclined to support the mini-CRs.

During a news conference held at the same time as the Repblican gathering, several dozen rank-and-file Democrats gathered behind party leadership on the East Front Steps to announce they were formalizing their plea to Speaker John A. Boehner to allow a vote on a clean CR via a letter addressed to the Ohio Republican.

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has begin to circulate the letter for signatures, soliciting Democrats as well as the growing number of Republicans who have begun to signal their willingness to support a short-term spending measure at sequester levels.

“Put your pen where our promises are. Sign this letter to your speaker,” Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel, D-N.Y., called out to Republicans.

Israel echoed what other Democrats have said, that there is enough support for a rider-free CR if only Boehner would call a vote. He even quantified it, saying that Democrats only need 10 percent of House Republicans to come forward in order to push the measure over the finish line.

“Vote! Vote! Vote! Vote!” the highly energized, if somewhat uncoordinated, Democrats chanted.

On Wednesday evening, the House will vote on bills to fund the National Institutes of Health, the National Guard, national parks and museums and the operations of the District of Columbia.

The latter two bills, plus one to continue disbursement of veterans’ benefits, were brought up Tuesday under an expedited floor procedure that required a two-thirds majority vote for passage. Republicans plan to vote again on the veterans bill Thursday.

Democrats by and large voted “no” in protest of the GOP “cherry-picking” strategy that they called a “ploy” and a “sham,” and the bills failed to pass the necessary two-thirds vote threshold. Republicans are trying again, bringing both bills back to the floor under a rule that requires only a simple majority for passage.

The Democrats who control the Senate have also said they would not put the measures on the floor, and the White House has issued a veto threat.

 

  • thepoliticalcat

    Boehner is a coward who is allowing something like 10% of our elected Representatives to hold the remaining 90% hostage. Despicable. Boehner should be bringing a clean CR to the Senate, not grandstanding endlessly at The People’s expense!

    • Lars_the_pianist

      I’m going to Boehner’s house trick-or-treating dressed as tea bag. That should scare him.

      • thepoliticalcat

        Oh, to be a fly upon that wall! :D

      • Dana Gunn McIntyre

        Maybe someone should go to Harry Reid’s house as well dressed up like a turd because he’d probably welcome them and call them family.

        • Lars_the_pianist

          Subtle.

          Just because the 79 members of the Senate voted for cloture – and then refused to defund legislation that had been passed (ooo I hate that term) by both Houses of Congress – ruled Constitutional by the Supreme Court – and re-adjudicated in a Presidential election (with pretty high turnout) where the Democratic sitting President was re-elected (both electorally and with the popular vote) — and the Democrats kept a majority in the Senate (and the majority of votes for House members actually went to the Democrats.)

          Dana – I hate to tell you this – PPACA is settled law – as defined by the Constitution. As far as I can see the real turd is the junior Senator from Texas and anybody that follows him (I might include Darrel Issa as well in this scatological family).

          If you want to overturn PPACA – win some elections. That’s the way it’s done in a democracy.

          • Dana Gunn McIntyre

            Hard to do when many of Liberal voters happen to be DEAD.

          • Jesse4

            No, there were not many at all.
            That’s just the way the whiners spin losing an election.

          • Dana Gunn McIntyre

            You know what else was a law? Japanese internment camps. Those were turned over because they were unconstitutional. Sounds a lot like the ACA. Can you imagine if no one ever fought to remove the law that put AMERICAN CITIZENS in camps?

            And another thing – not ONE SINGLE republican voted for ACA. It was voted in by Democrats who didn’t even (or couldn’t) READ the bill. Says a lot for your heroes.

            And clearly, you are not familiar with what happened to the House in the last election? The Republicans TOOK OVER, so yes, I’m familiar with how a democracy works.

            You want to pay for my health insurance? Go right ahead. I’m pretty sure you couldn’t afford it, or the $400 increase we just got last week so we can take care of

            the people who wanted “free” healthcare. If someone else has to pay for it, it’s NOT FREE.

          • Lars_the_pianist

            Cheers Dana —

            I think you missed a point. If you overturn a law because you won an election – it’s fine with me. If you try to overturn the law by tying it to the budget and forcing a shutdown of the government – I don’t buy it.

            Anyway – the GOP won the House – but the didn’t win the Senate and the Presidency. I don’t know if you noticed this. But you need all three to legally overturn a law.

            And if you really want to admire your GOP friends – ask yourself this: the Senate Democrats passed a budget on March 23 2013 — $3.7T budget. A few weeks before, the House GOP passed a $3.5T budget. Notice – the budgets are only $200B apart – about 5%. Not too much.

            Senator Patty Murray – Chairperson of the Senate Budget committee tried to get the House GOP to conference 18 times in the last 6 months to reconcile the budget (that would be how mature adults would do it.)

            Ryan, Cantor etc didn’t accept any conference invitations — and only demanded a conference at 11pm Sept 30 – 1 hour before the shutdown started.

            If this is the type of mature legislative behavior you admire – I pity you.

            Cheers,

          • Dana Gunn McIntyre

            LOL!!! Mature legislative behavior? You think Obama and Harry Reid are mature? OMG that cracks me up because I don’t think any politicians are mature. Thanks for the laugh. Good night!

          • Lars_the_pianist

            And a fine night to you as well :-).

          • bsetrader

            Nice spin…but TAX LAWS (Which is the ruling of SCOTUS) are AMENDED and REPEALED all of the time!
            NEXT

          • Lars_the_pianist

            Not in conjunction with the debt limit.

            Anyway – the House was asked 19 times to conference with the Senate to reconcile the Senate budget passed March 23, 2013 —

            Each of the 19 times – conference was blocked. That would have been the time to deal with this stuff.

            http://www.nationaljournal.com/congress/19-times-democrats-tried-to-negotiate-with-republicans-20131007

            1. 4/23 Senator Reid requested unanimous consent to go to conference, Senator Toomey blocked.

            2. 5/6 Senator Reid requested unanimous consent to go to conference, Senator Cruz blocked.

            3. 5/7 Senator Murray requested unanimous consent to go to conference, Senator McConnell blocked.

            4. 5/8 Senator Warner asked unanimous consent to go to conference, Senator McConnell blocked.

            5. 5/9 Senator Murray asked unanimous consent to go to conference, Senator McConnell blocked.

            6. 5/14 Senator Warner asked unanimous consent to go to conference, and Senator McConnell blocked.

            7. 5/15 Senator Wyden asked unanimous consent to go to conference, and Senator McConnell blocked.

            8. 5/16 Senator Murray asked unanimous consent to go to conference, and Senator Lee blocked.

            9. 5/21 Senator Murray asked unanimous consent to go to conference, and Senator Paul blocked.

            10. 5/22 Senator Kaine asked unanimous consent to go to conference, and Senator Rubio blocked.

            11. 5/23 Senator McCaskill asked unanimous consent to go to conference, and Senator Lee blocked.

            12. 6/4 Senator Murray asked unanimous consent to go to conference, and Senator Rubio blocked.

            13. 6/12 Senator Kaine asked unanimous consent to go to conference, and Senator Lee blocked.

            14. 6/19 Senator Murray asked unanimous consent to go to conference, and Senator Toomey blocked.

            15. 6/26 Senator Murray requested unanimous consent to go to conference, Senator Cruz blocked.

            16. 7/11 Senator Murray requested unanimous consent to go to conference, Senator Marco Rubio blocked.

            17. 7/17 Senator Murray requested unanimous consent to go to conference, Senator Mike Lee blocked.

            18. 8/1 Senator Durbin requested unanimous consent to go to conference, Senator Marco Rubio blocked.

            19. 10/2 Senator Murray requested unanimous consent to go to conference, Senator Toomey blocked.

      • ElmerEvans

        Don’t quit your government job to become a comic.

    • lanahi

      Despite the fact that most voters do not WANT Obamacare and it was passed in the dead of night and after a great deal of trickery?

      At the People’s expense? Wouldn’t you say people losing their full time jobs and their medical benefits at work are Obamacare expenses?

      Who is holding anyone hostage? Harry Reid doesn’t even allow GOP bills to be heard on the Senate floor. Now he doesn’t have the votes in the House to push this funding of Obamacare through and has to resort to bullying and more tricks. The man is despicable.

  • lanahi

    About 20 protestors showed up and this is a news story. Yet 2 million bikers in DC didn’t merit much of a story at all!

    Now they are calling it a “clean” bill if it includes Obamacare funding, as opposed to a “dirty” bill where it isn’t funded??? Anything Democrats want is a “clean” bill???

    Spin…spin…spin.

  • Thomas Aquinas

    Over time, democratic processes help useful ideas percolate from the minority’s opinion, through the populace, and into the majority’s view.

  • Steffen Schmidt

    Only 20 showed up?! Proof that labor unions are toast.

  • ElmerEvans

    “….By paid members of OfA and AFSCME.”

  • Fred Newbrough

    Some paid hecklers? Typical. The GOP has voted a clean CR free of funding for Obamacare which Americans that pay taxes do not want. Its been a job killer since it was passed in the middle of the night with companies putting on hold hiring and now knocking people back to part time and laying people off to make sure they comply with the onerous regulations of Obamacare. We didn’t need Obamacare to help poor people who don’t have health insurance, it didn’t take 20,000 pages of regulations and new bureaucracy to do that. We could have did that with more free clinics, ending the state by state stranglehold on health insurance purchasing by allowing people to purchase across state lines, establishing a critical care fund to help those who find themselves financially strapped because of cancer and other costly medical expenses. There was no good reason to mess with the existing health care of those who already have insurance nor mess with businesses who supply healthcare for their employees. The only reasons to mess with the people who already had health insurance and place the IRS in charge of auditing their healthcare was POWER & CONTROL. Helping poor people doesn’t in itself require legions of bureaucrats but the bureaucrats and their political enablers that want to take control of your health care and lifestyle choices like Obama want you to think they are absolutely essential when they are NOT.

  • robert jaworski

    Ted Cruz a Canadian will bring this country down.

  • David

    It’s the Congress job to pass budgets and pay bills. The President’s job to sign the bill if he agrees it’s good for the nation. To blame the President for the shutting down the government is plain idiotic and dishonest when the GOP House forced the shutdown in order to get Obama to repeal the ACA (his signature achievement). Now they want to pass a piece meal budget, where they get to choose who gets paid, and who doesn’t. That is not proper governing. You can’t demand to have things your way after you created a shutdown and caused so much problems. The President will not negotiate anything on Obamacare because he won fair and square on that achievement in two elections. He will not reward bad behavior by agreeing to cherry pick on what gets paid. The GOP Congress needs to open the government and he’ll negotiate on budget spending.

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