House Dems can't force floor vote on Senate’s clean government funding bill

Democrats were unable to call up the Senate's clean government funding bill for a floor vote Wednesday, despite some signs that a handful of Republicans would back the move.

House GOP leaders on Wednesday won approval of a rule to allow votes on five smaller spending resolutions in order to spare some parts of the government from a shutdown. 

ADVERTISEMENT
Just before the rule vote, Democrats made an attempt to get the House to consider the Senate plan, through a technical process called a "previous question" vote.

The minority party often uses these "previous question" votes to change the topic legislatively, and they always fail. This time around, Democrats seemed to be urging Republicans to join them — at least a dozen Republicans are known to be in favor of passing the Senate's bill at this point to end the shutdown.

"This will probably be the only chance in this House that you will get to vote on what everyone has been asking for," said Rules Committee ranking member Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.).

But that appeal fell on deaf Republican ears, as every Republican voted together to reject the Democrats' procedural move. 

At least for this week, that vote would appear to end any chance the Democrats have to force a House vote on the Senate bill.

Democrats could offer motions to recommit each of the spending bills, which is technically a chance to amend the bill.

But House aides said a Democratic motion to amend these bills with the Senate funding bill is unlikely to work. These aides said the Senate plan, which would fund the entire government, would not be seen as germane to the smaller bill.

Democrats are also unable to simply call up the Senate plan outside the process of passing legislation. Several Democrats tried to do this Tuesday, by asking for unanimous consent, but were told the GOP side of the aisle does not agree.

On the second day of the shutdown, Republicans and Democrats seemed no closer to finding an agreement to reopen the government.

However, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and other congressional leaders were expected to meet with President Obama at 5:30 p.m., which gave some hope that a deal might be reached.

In the meantime, members and staff are preparing to remain in session over this coming weekend. House aides told The Hill that as long as the shutdown continues, the House would hold votes.

—This story was posted at 1:48 p.m. and updated at 3:43 p.m.