A lot of self-described “moderates” in the House GOP now say they’d vote for a clean CR, but when they were given the opportunity, they still voted against the procedural trick Democrats came up with to force the issue. So they’re liars, in other words. But so far it’s been easy to obscure that they’re liars because voters will only follow you so far into the procedural weeds.
But now it looks like these guys are going to have to vote Yes or No on a “discharge petition” to reopen the government. Basically if House Democrats can get 218 votes to force a vote on the “clean” CR then it’ll come to the House floor for a vote and presumably it will pass. A vote against the discharge petition is a vote to sustain the government shutdown.
Jed Lewison explains:
In theory, there should be enough Republicans willing to sign the discharge petition for this tactic to succeed. There are 200 Democrats, and if 18 of the 22 Republicans who claim they support a clean funding bill sign the petition, we’d have a vote and the shutdown crisis would be over.
The problem is that at least so far, none of these Republicans have been willing to put their money where their mouths are. Earlier this week, every single one of them voted against a procedural motion that would have allowed a vote on a a clean funding bill to move forward, putting them in the awkward position of saying they would vote yes on something they voted against allowing to come up for a vote.
These members will face tremendous pressure from Republican leadership to not sign a discharge petition, because doing so would effectively neuter Boehner. But unlike procedural votes to table appeals of rulings of the chair (the vote earlier this week), whether or not a member signs the discharge petition is extremely easy to explain.
At a bare minimum, pushing the discharge petition will force these Republicans to put up or shut up. Hopefully, they will put up, because if they do, that would end the Republican shutdown. But even if they don’t, at least it will be a clarifying moment that forces these so-called “moderates” to admit that at the end of the day, they are nothing but Ted Cruz with a smile.