Democrats Poised to Accept ‘Clean’ CR at Sequester Levels

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)
(CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Posted September 30, 2013 at 4:11pm

House Democratic leaders said on Monday that they are prepared to vote for a rider-free continuing resolution at sequester levels — a cave from earlier condemnations of the House-passed $986 billion topline.

The willingness to compromise as the clocks ticks down to a probable government shutdown at midnight comes after Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md., and others had pledged to stand their ground against a CR that perpetuated the sequester.

Last last week, Democrats were already giving themselves wiggle room, and senior Democrats during the Saturday session started to open the door to the possibility of compromise to keep the government running on Tuesday.

Hoyer, leadership’s most vocal critic of funding the government at sequester levels, charged Republicans with not being satisfied by the White House’s willingness to accept a CR at $986 billion.

“The president said he’d sign your level,” Hoyer said to Republicans on the House floor Saturday night. “Your level. You’ve won. But you can’t take ‘yes’ for an answer.”

Pelosi made a similar call to Republicans at a Monday afternoon news conference: “Take ‘yes’ for an answer. It’s your number.”

Leadership also signaled that they would support a “clean” CR that runs through Nov. 15. That would be a compromise between the Republican-controlled House and Democrat-controlled Senate — the House has been pushing for a Dec. 15 expiration debate.

Still, some Democrats continued to press for a more generous spending level. Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chairmen Raúl M. Grijalva, D-Ariz., and Keith Ellison, D-Minn., said that they were prepared to whip members against the $986 million CR.