Wed October 2, 2013
Democratic Congressman John Yarmuth Calls for 'Clean' Spending Bill Vote as GOP Support Grows
As President Obama meets with leaders in Washington, Kentucky Democratic Congressman John Yarmuth says there is enough support in the Republican-controlled House to pass a so-called "clean" spending bill to end the government shutdown.
But the remaining members of Kentucky's congressional delegation appear unwilling to accept such a plan even as more GOP members are supporting the idea.
"The solution to this crisis is simple: There is enough bipartisan support in the House right now to approve legislation to fund the government, send it to the president’s desk immediately and end this shutdown," Yarmuth told WFPL. "Every day they delay, House Republicans are hurting workers, small business owners, and millions of American families who depend on federal agencies, programs, and services."
House Democrats are pressuring Speaker John Boehner and GOP leaders to put forward a measure that doesn't attach any provisions to de-fund or delay President Obama's health care law.
A tally by The Washington Post shows there are now 21 GOP members who say they are either willing to and leaning towards voting for a "clean" continuing resolution.
That means a bill to fund the government would pass if the 200 Democrats went along.
In order for that vote to take place, however, Boehner would have to break the coveted "Hastert Rule" which forbids legislation that doesn't have the majority of the party in control's support.
A spokesman for Kentucky Republican Congressman Thomas Massie says the conservative lawmaker has already supported five "clean" bills that fund specific areas of the federal government.
"All of these bills have Republican and Democrat(ic) support in the House. Assuming they pass, they will go to Senate tonight. Congressman Massie thinks veterans as well as reservists and members of the guard should be given the same respect and treatment that both chambers of congress and the president extended Monday to active duty members of the military," says Massie spokesman Lorenz Isidro.
Critics point out the president signed a smaller spending bill to continue pay for U.S. service member ahead of the shutdown. But efforts to fund the government in a piecemeal fashion has also been a non-starter for the Democratic-controlled Senate.
Other lawmakers in Kentucky's delegation remain committed to using the budget process to make changes to the health care law even as Americans sign-up.
Asked if Republican Congressman Andy Barr would consider voting for a clean bill, spokeswoman Chatherine Gatewood directed WFPL to an interview with the Lexington Herald-Leader. Barr told the newspaper he is only interested in voting for a continuing resolution that includes changes to Obamacare.
An exacerbated President Barack Obama made it clear he won’t negotiate with the Republicans until the House passes a bill reopening the government. Supporters argue the president is even less likely to curtail his signature achievement the Affordable Care Act—in the midst of its roll out.
At least a dozen GOP lawmakers appear to be thawing (here, here, here, here, here and here) on the health care fight as the shutdown heads into its third day. But for Republicans in Kentucky where the president remains unpopular, lawmakers are digging in.
"Right now Congressman Ed Whitfield's intention remains with a spending bill that is connected to repealing provisions of Obamacare," says spokesman Chris Pack. "The congressman remains committed to getting Harry Reid come to the table to negotiate, which they have been unwilling to do."
The offices for congressmen Hal Rogers and Brett Guthrie did not return out request for comment.