Lankford opposes discharge petition on his bill to end shutdown

Rep. James Lankford (R-Okla.) on Friday said he opposes a discharge petition on a bill he sponsored as a means of reopening the government.

“Right now it’s like buying car insurance after you wrecked the car,” he told The Hill in an interview.

Lankford’s legislation would fund the government at current levels for 120 days if Congress fails to pass a continuing resolution, and would cut spending by 1 percent every 90 days after that.

The bill is designed to prevent a government shutdown before it happens, but Democrats issued a discharge petition on it, and added language that could force a vote on a clean continuing resolution during this shutdown.

Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerLobbying World McCarthy courts conservatives in Speaker's bid McCarthy faces obstacles in Speaker bid MORE (R-Ohio) has so far declined to bring a clean continuing resolution to the floor, although Democrats, and some Republicans, claim they have enough GOP votes on their side to push it through the House.

Lankford said he would not sign the discharge petition, and called it a “publicity stunt” by Democrats who are only interested in the bill as a “vehicle” to end the current budget battle. The Oklahoma Republican doesn’t believe the petition will get the 218 signatures it needs to see a vote on the floor.

The discharge petition has been embraced by Democrats, and even some Republicans, as a way out of the shutdown.

But there are drawbacks to the scheme. The petition can’t begin accruing signatures until Oct. 12, and the earliest it could see a vote would be Oct. 28.

“If we’re still in government shutdown mode then, we have a whole different set of issues,” Lankford said.

Treasury predicts the U.S. will hit the debt ceiling on Oct. 17.

Lankford said he’s hopeful the legislation will be considered in full as a way to avoid future shutdowns, and noted a number of GOP colleagues who have since joined on as co-sponsors of the legislation.