A coalition of House Democrats has banded together in pursuit of a common goal, with nearly 80 representatives calling on Speaker John Boehner to force Congress to work day and night to avoid a government shutdown. While House members are scheduled to take a break in six days, the federal government can only run for two more weeks before running out of funding.
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Illinois Representative Cheri Bustos spearheaded the initiative, which resulted in a letter sent to Boehner yesterday that expressed the Democrats’ will to figure out a solution. “The American people deserve to know that their elected representatives are working around the clock to avoid another self-inflicted Washington wound on our national and local economies,” it read. “We strongly urge you to keep the House of Representatives in session every day from now until we reach a deal.”
The House will spend more time out of session next week than working toward a resolution if nothing changes, especially considering Pope Francis’ impending visit to Capitol Hill on Thursday. That means that the Republicans would need to act quickly to fulfill the Democrats’ request for an extension.
Still, more time will not necessarily result in the stop-gap funding bill’s passage thanks to a variety of political hurdles in its way. The far right wing of the GOP has vowed to tie legislation stripping Planned Parenthood of its federal funds to any government spending measure. While such a bill might pass through the Republican-controlled House, it would certainly not acquire enough votes to move through the Senate.
The 80 Democrats pushing for more time argue that yet another government shutdown would prove troublesome for the economy. “The 16 day government shutdown of 2013 cost the U.S. economy $24 billion and reduced 4th quarter GDP growth by 0.6 [percent],” they wrote in the letter to Boehner. “We simply cannot allow this failure to happen again.”