Reps. Chris Van Hollen (D-Maryland) George Miller (D-Calif.) and Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) issued the following statement today after the Republican House leadership announced that they will continue to keep the government closed and block a vote on a clean bill to reopen the government. Van Hollen, Miller and Lowey have launched an effort to force a vote on a government funding bill at Senate and House Republican agreed-to spending levels through a discharge petition. Members of Congress will be able to sign the discharge petition beginning on Saturday.
"Today, Speaker Boehner once again refused to allow democracy to work its will. Given the Speaker's insistence that he will keep the government shut down until Republicans win their unreasonable demand to put health insurance companies back in charge of Americans' health care, our discharge petition to open the government is now more important than ever. Speaker Boehner could end this charade immediately by holding a vote on the Senate-passed bill to re-open government. Since he will not, a bipartisan majority must act.
"Starting this Saturday morning, members of Congress can sign our discharge petition on the House floor. Two hundred Democrats have called for an up or down vote on the Senate-passed 6-week budget. Over the last 30 years, every discharge petition that received 218 signatures was successful in forcing a bill to the floor. With the 30 Republicans who have said they favor an up or down vote to open the government, we can put this crisis behind us.
"We urge our Republican colleagues to join us Saturday in signing the discharge petition so we can restore services and investments critical to our economy and American families."
Yesterday, Van Hollen, Miller and Lowey sent letters to 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.