House Democrats wrote to each of the 30 House Republicans who have expressed support for a clean government funding bill and urged them to sign onto a discharge petition that will allow an up or down vote on a clean bill to reopen the government as early as next week.
"The discharge petition is an opportunity for a majority of House members -- Republican and Democratic -- to join together to vote on a clean funding resolution that will reopen the government, put Americans back to work, and restore needed services. We urge you to join us on Saturday, October 12th to sign the discharge petition to force an up or down vote to re-open the federal government," wrote Reps. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), George Miller (D-Calif.), and Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.).
House Democrats have repeatedly urged the Speaker to bring the Senate-passed bill to reopen the government for a vote. In the absence of that, H. Res. 372, introduced by Reps. Van Hollen, Miller, and Lowey last Friday, would allow an up or down vote on a clean continuing resolution consistent with the funding levels passed by the Senate and supported by House Republicans. A discharge petition can be filed after seven legislative days from the introduction of the resolution, which would be Saturday, October 12th. This discharge petition only needs a majority of House members to sign on and does not require any action by the Republican leadership.
Over the last 30 years, discharge petitions have been proven successful 19 different times in bringing up legislation for consideration. According to a Congressional Research Service study, seven discharge petitions have received 218 signatures over the last 30 years. In all seven cases, the majority party agreed to bring the measure to the House floor without waiting for the formal discharge timetable. In addition, 12 measures were allowed to be brought to the House floor even before the discharge petition reached the full 218 signatures.