Senior Democratic House Members Announce New Path Forward to Open the Government Through a Discharge Petition

Washington, DC–(ENEWSPF)–October 4, 2013.  House Republicans have shut down the government in an effort to push their reckless agenda. Congress could open the government today if Speaker Boehner would allow democracy to work its will, but he is refusing to allow a vote on the Senate-passed continuing resolution.  Senior Democratic Members of the House of Representatives announced today a new effort to overcome the Republican leadership’s obstruction and allow the House to vote to open the federal government as early as October 14th through a discharge petition. This discharge petition only needs a majority of House Members to sign on and does not require any action by the Republican leadership.

“The only thing standing between this Congress and an open government is Speaker Boehner’s refusal to allow a vote on a clean continuing resolution,” said Congressman Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.). “This measure can remove the Speaker’s undemocratic roadblock and finally allow a clean vote in the House of Representatives to open the government.”

“There is a growing number of Republicans who want the opportunity to work with us to end this crisis. We have seen it in press reports. And I have heard it in my own private conversations with my Republican colleagues,” said Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.). “Today, we are offering my Republican friends, and the American people, a way forward.”

“It is a national disgrace that the government of the greatest and strongest nation in the world should be shut down and held hostage to the demands of a small faction of the most radical Tea Party Republicans led by Senator Ted Cruz. If Speaker Boehner will not allow a vote on a clean, Senate-passed bill to open the government, we should force one.  I hope all Republicans stand up to the Tea Party and end this reckless political game,” said Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.).

H. Res. 372 The “Open the Government” Resolution, introduced today by Van Hollen, Miller, and Lowey, would allow an up or down vote on a clean continuing resolution, consistent with the funding levels passed by the Senate, if a majority of House Members sign onto a discharge petition. A discharge petition can be filed after seven legislative days from the introduction of the resolution. If a majority of House members sign the discharge petition, a floor vote on a clean continuing resolution could occur as early as October 14th. 

Copy of the Resolution to Open the Government (pdf)

Key Points on Plan to Open the Government (pdf)

Detailed FAQs on the Discharge Petition Process (pdf)

Steps to Reopen the Government through the “Open the Government” resolution:

  1. “Open the Government” resolution introduced and referred to the House Rules Committee. (October 4).
  2. After seven legislative days of inaction, discharge petition is filed and House members can sign the petition calling for immediate House consideration. (earliest estimated date: October 11)
  3. Once a majority of members’ signatures are collected, a motion is made on the House floor to discharge the resolution from the Rules Committee for immediate House consideration. (earliest date: October 14)
  4. Once the resolution is adopted, the House would then debate a continuing resolution with the House and Senate agreed-to spending levels as a substitute to H.R. 1164 – a Republican bill introduced more than 30 days ago – and take an up or down vote. After House passage, the Senate would have to approve the bill.