WASHINGTON -- The House had a pretty light schedule on Saturday morning: Pass a funding bill for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Bureau of Indian Education and Indian Health Services. But Republicans yanked the bill immediately after it came up as Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) tried to amend its title with language calling for an end to the government shutdown.
Here's the bill's official title: "Making continuing appropriations for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Bureau of Indian Education, and the Indian Health Service for fiscal year 2014, and for other purposes."
Under Grayson's amendment, the title would have an extra clause about what a great idea it would be to pass a "clean" funding bill: “Making continuing appropriations for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Bureau of Indian Education, and the Indian Health Service for fiscal year 2014, and for other purposes, although we prefer -- and would support -- a comprehensive, clean continuing resolution to end the government shutdown.”
Grayson's goal was purely symbolic; he wanted to see how many Republicans would vote for the idea of passing a clean funding bill to reopen the government, with no strings attached. His confidence that his amendment would pass stems from the fact that at least 24 Republicans have said they would support a clean funding bill to end the shutdown, which, along with the support of all Democrats, means the votes are there to do it.
But Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), who was in the speaker's chair when the bill came up for a vote, said it was postponed and moved on to other matters.
"They can’t handle the truth," Grayson said after it was pulled down.
Rory Cooper, a spokesman for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), who controls the floor, said Saturday's events were just a blip and the bill would be back.
"Democrats were using dilatory tactics to delay the bill on the floor," Cooper said. "We moved off the bill and onto a vote on the Motion to Instruct. The Democrats can continue their show on Monday when the vote comes back up."