Congressman Matt Cartwright

Representing the 17th District of Pennsylvania
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Pennsylvania GOP Congressmen Hold Key to Reopen Government, Urged to Sign Discharge Petition Saturday

Oct 9, 2013
Press Release

WASHINGTON House Democrats wrote to several Pennsylvania House Republicans today who have expressed support for a clean government funding bill and urged them to sign onto a discharge petition this Saturday that will allow an up or down vote on a clean bill to reopen the government as early as next week.  Unless House leadership schedules an immediate vote on a clean bill, a discharge petition is the only viable option to reopen the government.  Letters were sent to Reps. Lou Barletta (PA-11), Charlie Dent (PA-15), Pat Meehan (PA-7), Mike Fitzpatrick (PA-8), and Jim Gerlach (PA-6).

“The House leadership could end this crisis today by scheduling an immediate vote to reopen the government.  The votes are there.  So far, Speaker Boehner has refused to let the will of the majority of members of Congress work.  Failing that, I will support any effort that reopens the government.  This shutdown is hurting my constituents and continues to threaten our economy,” said Congressman Cartwright.  “I urge my Republican colleagues to join me Saturday in ending this crisis by signing onto the discharge petition to allow an up-or-down vote on a clean government funding bill.”

“The discharge petition is an opportunity for a majority of House members – Republican and Democratic – to join together to vote on a clean funding resolution that will reopen the government, put Americans back to work, and restore needed services.  We urge you to join us on Saturday, October 12th to sign the discharge petition to force an up or down vote to re-open the federal government,” wrote Reps. Chris Van Hollen (MD-8), George Miller (CA-11), and Nita Lowey (NY-17). 

House Democrats have repeatedly urged the Speaker to bring the Senate-passed CR up for a vote.  In the absence of that, H. Res. 372, introduced by Reps. Van Hollen, Miller, and Lowey last Friday, would allow an up or down vote on a clean continuing resolution consistent with the funding levels passed by the Senate and the House.  A discharge petition can be filed on Saturday, October 12th – seven legislative days from the introduction of the resolution.  This discharge petition only needs a majority of House members to sign on and does not require any action by the Republican leadership.

Discharge petitions have been proven successful in the past in bringing up legislation for consideration.  

  • According to a Congressional Research Service study, seven discharge petitions have received 218 signatures over the last 30 years. And in all seven cases, the majority party agreed to bring the measure to the House floor.
  • 12 measures were allowed to be brought to the House floor even before the discharge petition reached the full 218 signatures. 

Read the letters:

Rep. Lou Barletta (R-Pa.)

Rep. Charles W. Dent (R-Pa.)

Rep. Michael G. Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.)

Rep. Jim Gerlach (R-Pa.)

Rep. Patrick Meehan (R-Pa.)