The vote took place just before the Obama administration said it would veto the bill as something that would do nothing to re-open the government. The administration instead called on the House to pass clean bills to open the government and increase the debt ceiling, and said it would only negotiate with Republicans on the issue of deficit reduction once these steps are taken.
"For nearly a month now … House Republicans have asked the Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Democrats to sit down and to negotiate with House Republicans," said House Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions (R-Texas). "What we're trying to do is to find another avenue, and that is to have the House of Representatives, the United States Senate and their appointees to be able to meet together in a working group to resolve these issues."
Sessions said he envisions that the meetings of the working group would be televised so "the American people can take part in these discussions."
But Democrats rejected the GOP plan, and said the best way to open the government is to pass a "clean" continuing resolution that the Senate passed last week. Several Democrats charged Republicans with setting up a new process that will only slow the process of opening parts of the government that are shuttered.
"I think it's just another delaying tactic, because I'm persuaded today … that the Republican Party in this House does not want to open the government," said Rules Committee ranking member Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.).
Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) openly mocked it during the floor debate.
"I'd like to know who writes this stuff. This is so ridiculous a proposal," she said.
Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) mocked the idea as another supercommittee, along the lines of the one that failed to find a way around the sequester last year. He also linked it to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), whom Democrats blame for pushing House Republicans into rejecting the Senate spending bill.
"Another supercommittee," he said. "It's Supercommittee II: the Wrath of Cruz."
Sessions shot back that Congress is facing a Democratic president who is refusing to talk to Republicans about anything, and seems content to run the risk of hitting the debt ceiling later this month.
"This president is simply different than every other president we've ever had," he said. Sessions said Obama is "giving up" his moral authority to lead, and noted that Obama's senior advisers have said Obama would "sooner see the government go into default than to meet with and to negotiate with the Republicans."
"That is not what leaders should be doing," he said.
The rule makes in order the working group bill, which is the Deficit Reduction and Economic Growth Working Group Act, H.R. 3273. It also makes in order a debate and vote on the Federal Worker Pay Fairness Act, H.J.Res. 89, which is meant to ensure paychecks for government employees who are still working are issued on time.
And, it makes in order H.J.Res. 90, the Flight Safety Act, which provides funding for the Federal Aviation Administration. The House is likely to take up this new "mini" spending bill later in the week.
Just before the vote, Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) asked the House to grant privileged status for a resolution he has saying the government shutdown is harming the dignity of the House, citing op-eds in various overseas newspapers.
But the presiding officer, Rep. Steve Womack (R-Ark.), cited precedent saying that mere opinions about legislative action or inaction are not enough to grant resolutions privileged status, which would let them come up for a vote more easily.