GOP Lawmakers: House Could End Standoff With Up-Or-Down Vote On Clean Bill

GOP Lawmakers: House Could End Standoff With Up-Or-Down Vote

WASHINGTON -- Throughout the budget showdown, the mantra of tea party Republicans, led by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), has been "make DC listen."

On Twitter, the Senate floor and in repeated interviews on Capitol Hill and on Fox News, Republicans have stressed their connection to the people and small-d democracy.

"I just think you saw members who said, 'Look, let’s just do what we all know needs to be done and frankly what the American people want to see done,'" said Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), a conservative wing leader, after this weekend's critical House GOP meeting.

"Sometimes I go back to basic civics: We're the House of Representatives. We're the body that's supposed to be closer to the people," Jordan said. "That's why the Founders gave a chance for the people to throw us out every two years."

But there is a critical flaw in Republicans' argument that they are just carrying out the will of the people: If the House of Representatives -- the "People's House" -- was allowed by GOP leaders to work its will by casting a straight up-or-down vote on the bill passed by the Senate to avert a government shutdown, that bill would become law.

And that, more likely than not, is how this will end. The only question is when.

Shortly after House Republicans unveiled their latest gambit targeting Obamacare in exchange for funding the government, Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.) went off-script by throwing his support behind the Senate bill, which is known as a clean continuing resolution, because it continues government funding without major amendments to other legislation.

"Let's see what the Senate sends back," Dent told reporters Saturday. "If they send back another clean CR, I suspect -- again, I'm not making a decision on what's going to be on the floor -- a clean CR would likely to be on the floor at some point."

"I’m prepared to vote for a clean resolution tomorrow," he added Sunday, according to The New York Times' Jonathan Weisman. "It’s time to govern. I don’t intend to support a fool’s errand."

Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), deputy majority whip of the House, told reporters that the decision to pass a clean government funding bill belonged entirely to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio).

"He didn't mention it, but I'm sure he could if he wanted to," Cole said as he emerged from Saturday's meeting.

"We're pretty much out of options at this point,'' said Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.). "They're all giddy about it. You know who benefits the most here from a shutdown? The Democrats benefit and they know that."

Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), a vocal critic of Cruz's do-or-die approach, pinned his hopes on 'normal people' finding a way to avert a shutdown.

"I don't want to be undercutting anything that's going on. I'm hopeful normal people are going to prevail," he said. "There's still time for the Senate to act."

Even those insisting they would support nothing less than a one-year delay of Obamacare conceded there were enough votes to pass a clean continuing resolution in the final hours.

"I think there's enough people in the Republican Party who are willing to do that. And I think that's what you're going to see," Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho) said on NBC's "Meet the Press," while maintaining that he himself would oppose such a measure.

There are currently 200 Democrats in the House, meaning that only 17 Republicans would be needed to win a majority and pass a clean bill. And while Republicans control the chamber, it is not quite as close to the people as Jordan says. In the 2012 election, Democratic candidates for the House received more votes than Republicans.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has repeatedly insisted -- and demonstrated through bipartisan votes -- that no bill that makes changes to Obamacare will get through the upper chamber as part of the shutdown fight.

Republicans have not yet uniformly absorbed that lesson, but many observers believe the government actually shutting down will be an opportunity for a teachable moment.

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