GOP centrists won't force 'clean' CR vote

House Republicans who have said they are open to supporting a “clean” government funding bill are not interested in forcing a vote on such a measure. 

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Democrats have launched a discharge petition aimed at forcing a vote on legislation that would end the government shutdown. Two hundred and eighteen signatures are required to compel a roll call, and that looks unlikely any time soon.

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has said a clean continuing resolution doesn’t have the votes to pass the House. President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Monday challenged Boehner to prove it by scheduling a vote.

The Hill on Monday contacted the more than two dozen House Republicans who publicly favor, or who have said they would consider voting for, a clean bill. Not one said they would join forces with the Democrats. The Hill worked off a whip list that The Washington Post has compiled.

Republican Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart (Fla.), Lou Barletta (Pa.), Frank LoBiondo (N.J.), Devin Nunes (Calif.), Mike Simpson (Idaho), Dennis Ross (Fla.), Rob Wittman (Va.), Charlie Dent (Pa.), Peter King (N.Y.) and Tim Griffin (Ark.) clearly stated they would not sign the petition.

In an email, Griffin said, “Instead of negotiating in good faith, House Democrats are playing political games with a discharge petition. They are following the playbook of President Obama and Democratic Senate Leader Harry Reid, who wanted a government shutdown for political purposes.”

Simpson spokeswoman Nikki Watts said, “The answer is 'absolutely not.' ”

Barletta spokesman Tim Murtaugh said, “The congressman would not support a discharge petition. It’s parliamentary gamesmanship which stands no chance of succeeding.”

King made similar remarks over the weekend on “Fox News Sunday.”

Dent said on CNN he will not sign the discharge petition, saying the process takes too long.

But others kept the door open.

Philip Minardi, a spokesman for Rep. Erik Paulsen, said the Minnesota Republican would “consider anything that comes across his desk.”

Kori Walter, press secretary for Rep. Jim Gerlach (R-Pa.), said, “The congressman is focused on working with his House colleagues on a bipartisan solution to get the federal government re-open and working for taxpayers again well in advance of any discharge petition arriving on the House floor for a vote.”

These House centrists have mulled various procedural options to end the shutdown, which is now in its seventh day. If they defected on a GOP funding bill or on a rule to bring a measure to the floor, it would fail — assuming all Democrats voted "no."

House GOP leaders strongly discourage their members to sign discharge petitions, which is seen as undercutting their authority.

Republican members who had not commented at press time for this article include Reps. Rodney Davis (Ill.), Shelley Moore Capito (W.Va.), Mike Fitzpatrick (Pa.), Randy Forbes (Va.), Michael Grimm (N.Y.), Richard Hanna (N.Y.), Leonard Lance (N.J.), Pat Meehan (Pa.), Scott Rigell (Va.),  Jon Runyan (N.J.), Frank Wolf (Va.), Steve Womack (Ark.) and Bill Young (Fla.).

All but three House Democrats have signed the discharge petition. The holdouts are Reps. John Barrow (Ga.), Jim Matheson (Utah) and Mike McIntyre (N.C.).

Even if Democrats snare the required signatures soon, they would have to wait until the discharge petition ripens. That cannot happen until next week at the earliest.

—Mike Lillis, Mario Trujillo, Haley Bissegger, Patrick Mortiere and Julian Notaro contributed to this article, which was last updated at 5:01 p.m. 

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