In a fast-moving series of events in Washington that saw, albeit briefly, the floating of an idea to revive “a super-committee” to deal with the budget crisis, House Republicans who have been working to find a way out of the shutdown actually lostsupport for a measure to re-open the government using a combination of Democratic and Republican votes.
That plan, a so-called “clean” continuing resolution, or CR, would fund the government at existing levels—ignoring both Democratic efforts to erase the effects of sequestration and Republican efforts to defund the Affordable Care Act or institute a one-year delay in the controversial law.
At an afternoon press conference, President Obama urged House Speaker John Boehner to do just that. “There are enough reasonable Republicans and Democrats in the House who are willing to vote yes on a budget that the Senate has already passed,” the president said. “That vote could take place today. The shutdown would be over.”
But even as he was speaking, the scenario appeared to be unraveling, with a handful of Republicans who had publicly backed a clean CR abruptly reversing their stance—some denying that they had ever supported it in the first place.
Lou Barletta, a Pennsylvania Republican, insisted that any vote include a repeal of a medical device tax unpopular with both the GOP and Democrats.
“He’s beyond the clean CR,” a Barletta spokesman wrote in an email. “He would vote against it now, because he is now focused on passing the CR with the medical device tax repeal, which can pass the House and Senate. He has found a group of Democrats who would support [it] in the House, [and that] represents a compromise that can get to the president’s desk.”
As for the clean CR—which appeared at the start of the day to have enough votes to pass should Boehner allow it to get to the floor? “That time has passed,” the spokesman said.
A spokesman for Buffalo, New York-area Congressman Chris Collins, who likewise began the day in favor of bringing a measure to the floor, concurred.
“The Congressman is dealing with reality: there is no chance that a clean CR is coming to the floor so we are focusing now on what is possible. Everyone needs to get in a room and compromise.”
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