The GOP's shutdown doves are rapidly dwindling in number as several say they now oppose a clean continuing resolution to reopen the government.
Democrats have argued for days that the government would reopen if only Speaker John Boehner allowed a vote on a clean spending bill without any anti-Obamacare provisions. After all, 22 Republicans support their plan and that’s enough to reach a majority.
Actually, make that 21 Republicans. Wait, maybe it’s 20 Republicans. Hold on — 19?
That’s right, the GOP’s shutdown doves are rapidly dwindling in number as several say they now oppose both a clean continuing resolution to reopen the government and a clean debt ceiling to avoid default.
“That day has come and gone,’ Congressman Chris Collins of New York, a former “clean” CR supporter, told reporters Tuesday. “We’re now talking about the debt ceiling so we need to talk about them together.”
As for whether he would support a clean debt ceiling: “Absolutely not.”
In addition to Collins, there’s Congressman Devin Nunes, who frequently refers to Senator Ted Cruz and his fellow shutdown hawks as “lemmings with suicide vests.” Not only did Nunes back off his demand for a clean CR this week, he denied he ever even supported the idea. That is, until Huffington Post produced the audio. His spokesman clarified to them that “the shutdown created new circumstances” that made passing a clean CR a no-go.
Slate’s Dave Weigel reported Tuesday that Pennsylvania Congressman Lou Barletta, who said last week he “absolutely” backed a clean CR, has taken the same journey. And, according to ABC News, three other GOP members — Mike Simpson of Idaho, Leonard Lance of New Jersey, and Randy Forbes of Virginia—have switched from yays to nays this week.
The move strengthens Republicans hand against what was becoming an embarrassing line of attack from Democrats, who often pointed to media counts of Republicans backing a clean CR while challenging Boehner to hold a vote.
“[T]here are enough votes in the House of Representatives to make sure that the government reopens today,” President Obama told the Associated Press in an interview on Friday.
Part of the problem for Democrats is that many of the relatively centrist GOP members who tried to head off the shutdown are also the members most closely aligned with Speaker Boehner. It’s the tea party caucus that usually rebels against whip counts, but this time they’re on Boehner’s side because he’s followed their strategy of confronting Obama over health care. While in theory the shutdown doves might back a clean CR, they also don’t want to undercut their leadership. They’ve already stuck with him on several motions by Democrats to bring up a clean CR.
Whip lists are an inexact science—but these are the 19 Republicans who may vote for a clean CR.
1) Rep Lou Barletta (R-PA)
2) Rep Charlie Dent (R-PA)
3) Rep Mario Diaz Balart (R-FL)
4) Rep Mike Fitzpatrick (R-PA)
5) Rep Randy Forbes (R-VA)
6) Rep Jim Gerlach (R-PA)
7) Rep Tim Griffin (R-AR)
8) Rep Michael Grimm (R-NY)
9) Rep Richard Hanna (R-NY)
10) Rep Peter King (R-NY)
11) Rep Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ)
12) Rep Pat Meehan (R-PA)
13) Rep Erik Paulsen (R-MN)
14) Rep Scott Rigell (R-VA)
15) Rep Dennis Ross (R-FL)
16) Rep Jon Runyan (R-NJ)
17) Rep Rob Wittman (R-VA)
18) Rep Frank Wolf (R-VA)
19) Rep Bill Young (R-FL)