By Justin Sink - 10/06/13 03:20 PM EDT
The White House challenged Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) Sunday to prove his assertion in an ABC News interview that "there are not the votes in the House" to pass a "clean" continuing resolution.
Dan Pfeiffer, the White House's senior adviser for communications, tweeted that either Boehner "is all wrong or all his members are lying."
"That flies in the face of all the math and public statements of GOP members," Pfeiffer said.
Democrats have repeatedly called on Boehner to allow a vote on a so-called "clean" Senate-passed bill that would reopen the government for a short period of time but not include Republican demands to delay or defund ObamaCare.
A whip count by The Washington Post found that 20 Republican representatives supported a so-called clean continuing resolution (CR), with another four counted as "leaning yes." If all 200 Democrats voted for the legislation, they would need just 17 Republicans to vote with them.
Boehner made the comment during an interview on ABC's "This Week," after host George Stephanopoulos asked him if he was "prepared to schedule a clean bill on government funding."
When Stephanopoulos pressed Boehner on whether it was true that the votes did not exist, the Speaker said that the American people expected leaders in Washington to "sit down and have a conversation."
"We're interested in having a conversation about how we open the government and how we begin to pay our bills," Boehner said. "But it begins with a simple conversation."
Other Democrats have also seized on Boehner's assertion, daring the Speaker to bring the clean CR to a vote.
"The Speaker said there aren't the votes on the floor to reopen the government. Let me issue him a friendly challenge. Put it on the floor Monday or Tuesday. I would bet there are the votes to pass it," Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said on "This Week." "We have just about every Democrat; 21 Republicans have publicly said they would. There are many more Republicans who have said that they privately would."
"So, Speaker Boehner, just vote. Put it on the floor and let's see if you're right."
Adam Jentleson, the communications director for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), tweed that there were "just three possibilities: 1) Boehner is right about the votes. 2) He can't count votes. 3) He knows the votes are there and lied."
"When Speaker Boehner is able to kill a Senate bill to prove a point, he does it. If votes aren't there why not prove it?" Jentleson asked.