With uncertainty continuing over the two-week-long government shutdown, House Democrats today went to the House floor to sign a discharge petition that would bypass Speaker Boehner and allow a quick vote on a bill to reopen the government if supported by a majority of members of Congress.
"We could open the government and get back to the work of the American people today. All we need is for our Republican colleagues -- particularly those who have already said they want to end this destructive shut down -- to join us in signing this petition," said Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD). "It is time for a bipartisan majority to act and allow democracy to work its will."
"This shutdown is hurting the American people and our economy. This petition to open the government gives members of both parties an opportunity to have their voice heard and represents the only viable path to open the government as long as the Speaker insists on keeping the government closed," said Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.). "I invite every member of Congress, especially those who have publicly stated they want the government to reopen, to sign this petition today."
"The American people have had enough of this reckless and irresponsible shutdown," said Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY). "We could end this senseless fiasco today if Speaker Boehner would allow a vote on the clean, Senate-passed bill to open the government. This discharge petition gives Democrats and pragmatic Republicans the chance to force a vote on bringing this ugly and embarrassing episode to a close."
Beginning today, members Congress will be able to sign a discharge petition for H. Res. 372, which would allow an up or down vote on a clean continuing resolution consistent with the funding levels passed by the Senate and the House. This discharge petition only needs a majority of House members to sign on and does not require any action by the Republican leadership.
On Thursday, Van Hollen, Miller and Lowey invited support from 30 Republicans who had express support for a vote on a clean government funding bill that would reopen the government.
Discharge petitions have been proven successful in the past 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. And in all seven cases, the majority party agreed to bring the measure to the House floor.
- 12 measures were allowed to be brought to the House floor even before the discharge petition reached the full 218 signatures.
You can see which members of Congress have signed onto the discharge petition time by visiting the House Clerk's office here: http://clerk.house.gov/113/lrc/pd/petitions/DisPet0005.xml