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So the Democrats want to return back to work and do their jobs governing while Republicans just want to fuck around and keep the government closed.  We know that.  But there's one way Democrats can do that:
Dems have hit on a way to use a “discharge petition,” which forces a House vote if a majority of Representatives signs it, to try to force the issue. Previously, it was thought this could not work, because a discharge petition takes 30 legislative days to ripen, so if this were tried with the clean CR that passed the Senate, this couldn’t bear fruit until some time in November.

But now House Democrats say they have found a previously filed bill to use as a discharge petition — one that would fund the government at sequester levels.

The bill in question is the “Government Shutdown Prevention Act,” which was introduced in March by GOP Rep. James Lankford of Oklahoma. As the Congressman’s release describes it:

If Congress fails to approve a budget by the end of each fiscal year, the Government Shutdown Prevention Act would ensure that all operations remain running normally without any interruption of services by automatically triggering a continuing resolution (CR) or short-term, stop-gap spending device. The bill creates an automatic CR for any regular appropriations bill not completed before the end of the fiscal year. After the first 120 days, auto-CR funding would be reduced by one percentage point and would continue to be reduced by that margin every 90 days. - Washington Post, 10/4/13

And Congressman Steve Daines (R. MT-AL), who is rumored to be preparing to run for Senator Max Baucus' (D. MT) seat, is a co-sponsor of the Government Shutdown Protection Act:

In March, Daines co-sponsored the Government Shutdown Prevention Act, a bill that requires the government to remain open if the Congress fails to pass a budget by the end of the federal fiscal year, Sept. 30.

The bill calls for short-term funding to be automatically triggered for 120 days. Government funding would have to be cut one percent for every short -term deal that followed until a budget passed. The bill, H.R. 1164, funded the government, but left Obamacare alone.

The government shut down at midnight Oct. 1 after House Republicans refused to fund the government without also delaying Obamacare and repealing taxes on medical equipment. - The Missoulan, 10/8/13

But here's the thing, Daines doesn't want the Democrats using the very bill he co-sponsored:

Rep. Steve Daines meets with Plum Creek employees before taking a tour of the Medium Density Fiberboard facility in Columbia Falls. - Lido Vizzutti | Flathead Beacon
The Government Shutdown Prevention Act never received a hearing, but Democrats are now circulating a petition to bring it to the House floor, a move that would require all 200 Democratic signatures plus signatures from 18 Republicans. So far, Republican House Speaker John Boehner has refused to take up government funding legislation that skips the Obamacare caveat. Boehner could not stop the petitioned bill.

Daines wants no part of the Democrats’ petition.

“The short answer to that is, like many things, it’s a political gimmick,” said Alee Lockman, Daines' spokeswoman.

The Government Shutdown Prevention Act was an attempt to avoid government shutdowns, which Daines supports, Lockman said. But being forced to the House floor by the minority party, the bill doesn’t stand a chance. The bill’s primary sponsor, Rep. James Lankford, R-Okla., also opposes the Democrats’ petition. - Billings Gazette, 10/8/13

But what do you expect from a guy like Daines, he's a foot soldier to the GOP Tea Party who doesn't want Montanans to have access to affordable insurance:

Daines, a freshman congressman considering a run for the U.S. Senate next year, has voted consistently with House Republicans in their effort to demand a repeal and now a delay of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.

Late Monday, the House voted on a version of the budget bill that would delay Obamacare’s mandate that all individuals have or buy health insurance by 2014 and remove federal assistance for congressional employees buying health insurance on the Obamacare exchanges. The Senate quickly rejected that version and sent it back to the House late Monday. A deal couldn’t be reached by midnight and the government moved toward a partial shutdown.

Daines also said he felt the Senate and President Barack Obama have been unreasonable in not bargaining with House Republicans over the budget bill, which needed to pass Monday night to avoid a partial government shut-down.

“We’re hearing from the voice of Montanans and Americans, saying we want two things: We want to see the government remain open and have Congress act on some of the harmful provisions of Obamacare,” he said. “I’m hoping the president and the speaker (of the House) can engage so we can find some common ground to move forward.” - The Billings Gazette, 9/30/13

Now Daines is at least donating his salary to charity but even the local press are calling him out on that:

Daines, if he is truly refusing, during the government to shutdown, to accept his salary, should not accept it. It should be returned to the U.S. Treasury, not the charity of his choice, which he can later claim as a charitable deduction on his 2013 taxes. Then Daines needs to get back to work and actually do the job for which Montanans elected him. - The Missoulan, 10/6/13
The DSCC has also been grilling Daines:

Despite three of Montana’s major newspapers calling on Steve Daines to end his reckless government shutdown that’s hurting so many Montanans, Daines is irresponsibly doing everything he can to make sure the reckless Republican government shutdown continues no matter how dire the consequences are for Montana.

In fact, Daines is so thoroughly wedded to his partisan political shutdown that he opposes a vote on his own legislation that he proposed just a few months ago.

Earlier this year Daines signed on to the “Government Shutdown Prevention Act,” which would keep the government open if Congress failed to pass a budget. Now, with Democrats circulating a petition to force a vote on that very bill in an effort to end the shutdown, Daines is unwilling to break free from Ted Cruz and the Tea Party, and opposes using his own bill as a way to end the shutdown, calling it a “political gimmick.”

Because of Steve Daines 6,000 Montanans are furloughed without pay. The Veterans Administration’s backlog for serving Montana veterans is getting worse. Crucial tourism revenue lost because Yellowstone and Glacier national parks are closed. Health clinics serving women and children may have to shut down. And 49 Farm Service offices that serve Montana farmers and ranchers are closed. - DSCC, 10/9/13

And Democratic Senate candidate Lt. Gov. John Walsh (D. MT) has been hammering Daines about the shutdown:

Walsh, the former adjutant general who has said he never considered a run before Schweitzer bowed out, predicted his likely opponent – Daines – could have trouble because of his role in a Congress that shut down the government amid stalemate.

“I don’t know Congressman Daines real well. I think he is a nice man. But I believe he is part of broken system back there,” Walsh said. “I am a little disappointed that he hasn’t stepped up to come up with a solution to the problem.” - The Spokesman-Review, 10/4/13

Daines hasn't announced his Senate run yet but we will make him pay at the polls next year.  If you want to donate or get involved with Walsh's campaign, you can do so here:

Originally posted to pdc on Wed Oct 09, 2013 at 09:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by Montana Kossaks, The Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party, and Military Community Members of Daily Kos.

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