A pair of GOP congressmen from New York said Thursday that they could be willing to team up with Democrats to force a vote on a government funding bill if Republicans can not pass a continuing resolution amid feuds in the House GOP.
Rep. Mike Lawler (R-N.Y.) committed to backing an alternate method if no compromise is made, while Rep. Mark Molinaro (R-N.Y.) said a discharge petition is “absolutely an option.”
Both congressmen have opposed efforts from conservatives to tank temporary government funding measures, with conservative Republicans saying the budget measures don’t cut enough. The government is set to run out of funds at the end of the month.
“There’s a [continuing resolution] vote and I stand by that position. I’m not wavering on that position,” Lawler told reporters Thursday. “And if there is not going to be a CR coming out of the House Republican caucus, then I will move forward with a discharge petition,” he said.
A discharge petition would move a version of the continuing resolution, presumably one with smaller budget cuts than many Republicans want, to a floor vote with Democratic support.
A discharge petition is a rarely-used and cumbersome maneuver that allows the minority party to force a vote on a bill without the support of the Speaker. Such a petition needs signatures from the majority of the House, which means five Republicans would need to sign on.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has struggled to keep his caucus together on spending bills, causing multiple rules votes to fail during the appropriations process and straining his leadership.
A majority of the House GOP is pushing for small cuts to the federal budget, while the party’s conservative wing has voted against measures, pushing for deeper cuts. Some have even floated removing McCarthy from his post.
Democrats, meanwhile, have so far left the problem to the Republican majority.
“Extreme MAGA Republicans temporarily hold the gavels; the extreme MAGA Republicans are responsible for passing the rule,” Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) said last week about an appropriations rule vote.
A bipartisan group of Representatives backed an alternate plan to avert a shutdown on Wednesday — a continuing resolution that would leave the budget unchanged until January, giving Congress more time to negotiate.
McCarthy told members they could leave Washington on Thursday without a budget deal finalized, but said members should be ready to return to the Capitol if needed.