The Daily Gazette
The Locally Owned Voice Of The Capital Region

Growing support for circumventing Speaker

There is growing support in the U.S. House of Representatives to end the federal government shutdown by going around U.S. Speaker John Boehner, R-OH.

Almost 200 members of Congress, currently 22 shy of the necessary 218, have endorsed a discharge petition to bring a clean spending bill to the floor. Boehner is currently opposed to holding a vote on a spending bill that would need Democratic votes to pass.

U.S. Rep. Paul Tonko, D-Amsterdam, and U.S. Rep. Bill Owens, D-Plattsburgh, are among the local representatives to support the petition. U.S. Rep. Chris Gibson, R-Kinderhook, has not signed on to the petition.

Tonko said he was pleased by the growing support for the petition, which attracted 10 signatures over the weekend. "But time is running out as Speaker Boehner continues to appease a small group of Tea Party Republicans," he said.

"Around 225 House Members – Republicans and Democrats – have publicly supported a clean budget," Tonko said, "House leadership could end this shutdown today by simply scheduling a vote on it and ending this reckless and irresponsible shutdown.”

Gibson spokeswoman Stephanie Valle said Gibson hadn't signed on to the discharge petition because it was a partisan solution that wasn't the right fix. "The congressman has been working with a bipartisan group to end the shutdown and [raise the debt ceiling]," she said, noting he is part of the bipartisan "No Labels" groups.

If Gibson had his druthers, the federal government would be operating under the Cooper-LaTourette budget, which he voted for in the spring of 2012. He describes this bipartisan budget as pro-growth, with sustainable spending levels and an appropriate tax policy.

According to a Congressional Research Service study, cited by Tonko's office, there have been seven successful discharge petitions in the last 30 years.

The federal government has been shutdown since the start of the month.

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