House Dems sign petition for 'clean' CR

At least 186 House Democrats signed a petition Saturday to try to force a vote on a "clean" funding measure to re-open the federal government.

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Democratic leaders said they expect their entire caucus to sign the petition, but they would still need some Republican signatures to reach the majority needed to force a vote.

"We hope our Republican colleagues will join us so we can open up government this day," Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (Md.) told reporters in the Capitol before Democrats lined up to sign the petition.

The Democrats expressed confidence that a majority of the House would vote for the Senate's clean funding bill and blamed Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) for not allowing a vote on the measure.

Republican leaders are demanding concessions from Democrats in the form of spending cuts or changes to the health care law in order to pass the funding bill.

"This is now an opportunity to use the rules of the House to allow Democracy to work its will," Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), the ranking member of the Budget Committee, said.

A number of House Republicans have said they would vote for a bill to re-open the government without attaching other demands such as defunding ObamaCare. But it is less likely that they would buck their leadership by signing the Democrats' discharge petition and forcing a vote on the bill.

Hoyer admitted that he's not sure whether they will win the necessary support from Republicans for their petition.

GOP Rep. Peter King (N.Y.) said Saturday there's "no chance" he'll sign the petition at the moment, but he left the door open for signing eventually.

"Today's the day to do it. Let's get it done," Van Hollen said. "Why delay another day?"

The Democrats claimed that their strategy has a realistic chance of success, pointing to a Congressional Research Service study which found that seven discharge petitions have received 218 signatures in the last 30 years. In 12 other cases, the House allowed a vote before a petition received 218 signatures, according to the study.