Bare House Majority Inches Up for 'Clean' Government Funding

PHOTO: Rep. John Boehner arrives at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC., Oct. 9, 2013.
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No matter how many times President Obama calls for an up-or-down vote, Speaker John Boehner won't budge on the math, insisting since his Sunday morning appearance on ABC's "This Week" that "there are not the votes in the House to pass a clean CR."

Three days later, however, it looks like he still might be wrong, though just barely.

By ABC News' count, at least 219 members (up from 218 Tuesday) say they would support a "clean" measure to extend all government funding without other conditions attached, such as defunding or delaying the president's health care law; 217 of the 432 members is the threshold needed to pass the measure. (Three seats are vacant.)

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How did we get to that number?

On Saturday, 195 Democrats signed a letter to Boehner that said, "Enough is enough. … We demand a vote on a clean continuing resolution immediately so that government functioning can resume and Americans can move on with their lives."

Aides to the five other House Democrats -- Reps. Mike McIntyre of North Carolina, Jim Matheson of Utah, Jim Cooper of Tennessee, Ron Kind of Wisconsin and John Barrow of Georgia -- told ABC News Monday that they would vote for a clean "continuing resolution," or CR.

That makes all 200 Democratic votes for a clean CR.

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Cooper and Kind wrote their own letter to Boehner Monday calling the government shutdown a "real tragedy for America."

"We support a clean CR," Kind and Cooper wrote. "There is more than enough bipartisan support in the House to pass a clean CR and reopen the government. … Democrats and Republicans are supposed to compromise and work together for the good of the country."

According to ABC News' count, there are at least 19 Republicans who have publicly said they would support a "clean" CR if it were brought to the floor.

Aides to 14 of the 232 GOP members have told ABC News their members of Congress would support a "clean" CR. They are: Reps. Mike Coffman of Colorado; Michael Grimm of New York; Jim Gerlach of Pennsylvania; Peter King of New York; Tim Griffin of Arkansas; Frank Wolf of Virginia; Rob Wittman of Virginia; Scott Rigell of Virginia; Bill Young of Florida; Jon Runyan of New Jersey; Frank LoBiondo of New Jersey; Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania; Dennis Ross of Florida, and David Reichert of Washington.

Five other GOP members -- Reps. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., Lou Barletta, R-Pa., Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, Leonard Lance, R-N.J., and Randy Forbes, R-Va. -- had previously been on record in support of a clean CR, but said Monday and Tuesday either their previous positions were misconstrued or they had changed their minds.

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Why does this number keep changing?

Two of the most recent changes essentially swapped one Republican for another. Barletta's press secretary Tim Murtaugh told ABC News Monday the congressman would support a "clean" CR "should it come up," but Murtaugh Tuesday said Barletta had changed his mind.

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