House Democrats are fed up with the Republican divisions stalling action on a spending bill and may not be in the mood to help House Speaker John Boehner avoid another government shutdown.
As California Democratic Rep. Xavier Becerra put it to CNN Wednesday, “I certainly know that there is a growing frustration among Democrats that we’re not allowed in the room to help come up with the solution, but we’re expected to stop the Republicans from killing themselves.”
Federal agencies will run out of money in a week, but House GOP leaders still haven’t outlined a path forward for a stopgap bill. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell set up a Thursday vote on a bill that continues funding federal agencies through early December that also bars taxpayer money for Planned Parenthood. Many conservatives insist any spending bill should block any federal funds for the women’s health organization after a series of secretly taped, edited videos released by an anti-abortion group purportedly show officials from the group talking about the sale of fetal body parts. Planned Parenthood denies any illegal activity.
The Senate bill is expected to fail and McConnell is expected to bring up a so-called “clean” spending bill that would continue funding the government while leaving Planned Parenthood’s funding alone. Boehner and other House leaders could decide to move that bill, or come up with their own version.
Becerra, who chairs the House Democratic Caucus, said he is considering voting against a short-term funding bill, even if it doesn’t include any language to defund Planned Parenthood.
“I’m not interested in this Republican chaos,” he said, telling CNN that he opposes yet another bill that governs the country in “fits and starts.”
With defections from a bloc of conservatives on previous spending bills, Boehner has regularly relied on Democrats, and needed their help back in March help to avoid a partial shutdown of the Department of Homeland Security.
“We’ve seen this movie before,” Rep. Steny Hoyer, the No. 2 House Democrat, told reporters on Wednesday.
Hoyer said he believed Republican leaders in the House would eventually call for a vote on a short-term continuing resolution that keeps the government open, but he wouldn’t discuss any formal strategy for his party’s next steps.
“We’re trying to work toward a responsible solution that is doable,” he said.
But when Hoyer was pressed on whether House Democrats would support Boehner if conservatives moved to try and out him with a vote on the floor, the Maryland Democrat wanted no part of the messy internal GOP fight.
“It’s not our responsibility to try to solve their division,” Hoyer said.