Tags: Healthcare Reform | discharge | petition | House | Obamacare

House Republicans Unlikely to Join Discharge Petition for Clean Resolution

Tuesday, 08 Oct 2013 10:59 AM

By John Gizzi

House Republicans show little inclination to join in a Democratic "discharge petition" that would bring to the floor a measure to fund the entire government —including Obamacare.

Even Republicans who have voiced support for a bill favored by President Barack Obama to reopen the federal government without conditions told Newsmax they won't circumvent Speaker John Boehner's authority to set the House schedule by signing the discharge petition.

The talk about a forcing a vote on a "clean resolution" was reduced significantly as its two most vocal supporters made it clear they would not sign the discharge petition needed to bring it to a vote.

New York Rep. Peter King, for example, is considered one of the strongest supporters among all 233 Republicans in the House of the "clean resolution," which would fund the entire government.

"Rep. King has said he will vote for a clean resolution if it comes to the floor," his spokesman Kevin Fogarty told Newsmax Monday.

However, King will not sign a discharge petition, Fogarty said.

Another Republican House member considered an enthusiastic "clean-resolution" backer, Pennsylvania Rep. Charlie Dent, also signaled he was a "no" to the discharge petition.

Dent spokesman Shawn Millan said that Dent's position remains unchanged from Sept. 29, when he voted for a continuing resolution that delays Obamacare's implementation for one year and removes the tax on medical devices.

This essentially spells the end to the petition filed by House Democrats on October 4 which, if it got 218 signatures, would place the so-called "clean resolution" funding the government on the House calendar.

To get to 218, the 201 Democrats would need what is known in the House as "the magic 17" – 17 Republicans to sign their petition and then vote to enact the "clean resolution."

The last two times a discharge petition worked in the House, observed the Capitol Hill publication Roll Call, was on a 1986 gun-rights bill and a 2002 campaign finance bill.

That, in all likelihood, is not going to happen a third time in 2013.

Although some of the nearly 20 House Republicans identified as supporters of the so-called "clean resolution" would, in fact, vote for it if it came to the House floor, Newsmax found none who was willing to override Boehner and sign the discharge petition needed to bring the measure to a vote.

This apparent standing-firm by House Republicans won strong praise Monday night from the GOP lawmaker most identified with the opposition on Capitol Hill to funding Obamacare, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.

In an exclusive interview with Newsmax, Cruz said that "throughout this entire debate, the House has been leading, and I commend House Republicans for standing up, leading, and listening to the American people about the losses of health insurance and skyrocketing costs that too many have experienced. I hope the Senate follows the example of leadership that the House has set."

Without a discharge petition to force a vote, and President Obama adamantly unwilling to negotiate, the end-game to the shutdown drama remains uncertain.

As freshman Rep. Richard Hudson of North Carolina told Newsmax, "Now, it's all very clear on this. If the Senate Republicans can peel some votes away from [Senate Democratic Leader] Harry Reid, we win. If House Democrats can peel some votes away from Speaker Boehner and the conservatives here, they win."

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmanx.

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