WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert is on the record as supporting a “clean” spending bill to reopen the federal government. But he isn’t exactly trumpeting it.
Reichert, a fifth-term congressman from Auburn, was asked on KIRO Radio Saturday whether he was among a breakaway band of Republicans willing to vote for a no-strings-attached bill to restore lapsed funding for the federal government.
Reichert didn’t directly answer host Jason Rantz at first, but he went on to say, “Whatever bill comes to the floor that opens this government, I’m going to vote yes on.”
“So if (House Speaker) John Boehner today put up a bill that was just a clean resolution, you’d support it? Rantz asked.
“Yes,” Reichert said.
Reichert’s answer contrasted with his official statements, which have been limited and ambiguous. On the first day of the shutdown last Tuesday, his office declined to answer questions.
The next day, asked whether he supported a spending bill stripped of any provisions to defund or delay the Affordable Care Act and other Republican demands, Reichert responded through a spokeswoman: “I will continue voting for legislation on the House floor that keeps the government running.”
Asked again about a clean bill after his appearance on KIRO Radio, the spokeswoman, Leighanna Driftmier, said, “The congressman has been clear that he will continue to support legislation that opens the government. It is imperative that Democrats come to the table to negotiate a bill that they can agree to.”
A clean bill, by definition, would require no negotiations, because all 200 House Democrats support it.
Reichert is among a couple of dozen House Republicans identified by various media outlets as willing to side with Democrats to pass the spending bill. He is the only one of the four House Republicans from Washington to indicate it publicly.
Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, of Camas in Clark County, for instance, has said she won’t publicly question the GOP leadership’s strategy.
Republicans control the House 232-200, with three vacancies. Democrats need 17 GOP defectors to prevail.
Boehner has refused to hold a vote on such a bill, claiming there isn’t sufficient Republican support.
Democrats are pursuing a procedural move involving a so-called discharge petition to force an up-or-down vote in the House on a spending bill already approved by the Senate. Such a vote can take place as soon as Saturday if enough Republicans sign it.
On Wednesday, Rep. Chris Van Hollen, of Maryland, the top Democrat on the House Budget Committee, sent a letter to Reichert and 29 other Republicans who have indicated support for a clean bill urging them to sign the petition. No Republican has done so.