Key Republican Hints at a Shutdown Deal

Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas, speaks to reporters after being named chairman of the House Rules Committee when the 113th Congress convenes in January, at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012. The Rules Committee controls how bills are amended and debated. Its chairman is one of the more high-profile House members because of the time spent leading floor debates.
National Journal
Billy House
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Billy House
Sept. 30, 2013, 1:32 p.m.

House Re­pub­lic­ans may have the equi­val­ent of a last-second, game- sav­ing touch­down in their play­book to avoid a shut­down, a top ally to Speak­er John Boehner is hint­ing to Demo­crats.

With just hours to go be­fore a mid­night dead­line to keep gov­ern­ment fun­ded, Rules Com­mit­tee Chair­man Pete Ses­sions has just told frus­trated Demo­crats on that pan­el to “stay calm,” and be ready and avail­able for late-night ac­tion as House Re­pub­lic­ans try “to play this out.”

Ses­sions, R-Tex., made his com­ments dur­ing a hear­ing late Monday af­ter­noon.

The Demo­crats on the pan­el were press­ing him as to why House Re­pub­lic­ans were mov­ing to vote later Monday on yet an­oth­er ver­sion of a stop-gap fund­ing bill — tied to oth­er de­mands they know the Sen­ate will re­ject and Pres­id­ent Obama would veto, any­how.

This new Re­pub­lic­an CR would re­quire a delay in the re­quire­ment that in­di­vidu­als pass health in­sur­ance, and would scrap health sub­sidies for the pres­id­ent and ad­min­is­tra­tion ap­pointees, as well as for mem­bers of Con­gress and their staff.

“Enough games­man­ship,” said Rep. Jim McGov­ern, D-Mass., dur­ing the hear­ing. “What you are do­ing here is mov­ing us closer to a shut­down.”

He said this “makes this place seem even worse, if that is pos­sible.”

Ses­sions said the House GOP does plan on tak­ing ac­tion Monday night on its new bill. He said the House would de­bate its new bill for 40 minutes, then there will be two votes, be­fore send­ing it over to the Sen­ate.

But he then said, “And there’s still hours left and we will hope that there is a re­sponse (from the Sen­ate) that we can op­er­ate off of,” adding that he means by that, later Monday night..

“I think there can be an ac­tion or a re­ac­tion with­in the Sen­ate, and I have stated that I will keep this com­mit­tee on alert and that we will be ready and avail­able,” said Ses­sions.

“We are go­ing to work to­geth­er and we are go­ing to try find something. And some­times these things do come to the bit­ter end,” he said, go­ing on to of­fer col­lege foot­ball as a par­al­lel.

“Wheth­er it is Flor­ida or Flor­ida State, or Texas and Texas A&M, or Baylor and Texas, it goes to the last play. And some­times it goes to the last play in real life, and some­times it does it in the polit­ic­al life”¦,” said Ses­sions.

“I’m en­cour­aging you. And I’m say­ing to you we’re do­ing the right thing, we’re try­ing to play this out,” Ses­sions told the Rules Com­mit­tee Demo­crat, say­ing he un­der­stood their frus­tra­tion.

But he said, “As we get closer to mid­night then that frus­tra­tion level, per­haps, will be answered.”

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