ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - The shutdown may be dragging on, but New Mexico's U.S. House Democrats and dozens of others are looking at another way out.
Some of those Democrats actually believe they may have enough Republican support to make it work.
New Mexico's two Democratic congressional representatives have signed on to the plan officially called a “discharge petition.” At least one thinks it could re-open the Federal Government.
More than 100 representatives signed on to the petition Saturday, forming a long line through the halls of Congress.
“It's our effort to find another vehicle to force the house to vote on reopening the government,” said Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, of New Mexico's First Congressional District.
As of Saturday night, 186 Democrats signed on to the petition. With enough votes, it would force the House to vote on a bill the Senate has already passed to end the shutdown.
“So that leadership doesn't have a choice, it just comes to the floor,” said Lujan Grisham.
There’s no deadline to the petition and 200 Democrats in all are expected to sign the petition. However, they'll need more votes for it to pass, meaning they’ll need some support from Republicans. But surprisingly, Lujan Grisham says Democrats might have the support.
“We need 218 signatures, we think that we've got enough people to do that,” she said. “We know that 21 Republicans have publicly stated that if they had an opportunity, they would vote for a clean CR (continuing resolution) to open government.”
Democrats are banking on moderate Republicans help. Rep. Ben Ray Lujan of New Mexico's Third District said in a statement Satuday, “It is time for them to stand up, back up their words with action, and join Democrats in this effort.”
On the other side of the aisle, Republican Rep. Steve Pearce of the state's Second District hasn't released a statement about the discharge petition yet,but has been voting for several Republican bills to restore parts of the government.
“The House is working to reboot the federal programs that are most important to Americans,” Pearce said Friday.
KRQE News 13 spoke over the phone to representatives for Pearce on Saturday about whether or not he would sign on to the petition. They told us the congressman was flying back home to New Mexico Saturday and would be out of contact.
News 13 asked for an interview or statement when possible but hasn't heard anything yet.
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