Shutdown Continues, Connecticut Delegation Signs "Discharge Petition"

Oct 14, 2013

Members of the U.S. House of Representatives have shown they can come together...for the State of the Union address.
Credit house.gov

Lawmakers from Connecticut have joined more than 180 members of the U.S. House of Representatives to sign a special petition to reopen the federal government.

The procedure, known as a discharge petition, allows a majority of members to bypass Speaker John Boehner and force an up or down vote on a bill to reopen the government. But even if all 200 House Democrats sign the petition, 18 Republican supporters are still needed.

Democrats Joe Courtney, John Larson, Elizabeth Esty, Rosa DeLauro and Jim Himes are among the lawmakers who signed the bill this weekend.

In a statement on his website, Courtney said, "The dysfunction and paralysis of the House Republican Conference has now leaked out of their ranks to poison our entire government."

The discharge petition may not be the antidote that Courtney is hoping for, though. Even if 18 House Republicans join Democrats, there are additional hurdles. Politico's Ginger Gibson sums them up:

The only day Democrats can bring it up for a vote is Monday, and if they’re not successful by then they would have to wait until Oct. 28.

And because members can’t start a discharge petition until a bill has sat dormant for 30 days, they are unable to force a vote on the bill that has already passed the Senate. Instead, they are signing a petition to release a bill that Republicans had filed earlier this year and are including an amendment. So even if they get 218 signatures, force a vote on the House floor and pass the measure, it could still have to run the full procedural gamut of the Senate — two cloture votes that require 60 supporters and the requirement to have 30 hours between votes.

When the government shutdown ends, it likely won't be because of this petition. At least they can say they're not doing nothing.

This story contains information from The Associated Press.