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The following passage comes from a CNN article:

Ryan's comments come as one senior House GOP member told CNN enough House Republicans are likely to agree to a push for legislation that would ban bump stocks that something could pass in the GOP-controlled House.

I can't connect the second "that clause" to the appropriate antecedent. Could anyone explain the use of "that" in this sentence?

  • Could it be that it should read "so that something could pass..."? That is, "so" has been accidentally omitted. – Livrecache Oct 6 '17 at 6:14
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If we remove the parts of the text that are extraneous to your question we have:

Enough House Republicans are likely to agree to a push for legislation that something could pass in the GOP-controlled House.

So this boils down to an enough ... that construction.

The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language (p396) notes that enough "licenses purpose expressions" in the form of an infinitival clause. Reconstructing the original text with an infinitival clause would result in something like:

Enough House Republicans are likely to agree to a push for legislation to enable something to pass in the GOP-controlled House

which is not particularly felicitous.

However, the CGEL also notes:

AmE allows an alternative construction in which enough takes a resultative content clause:

  • %There was enough hot water that we could all take baths.

The percentage sign in front of a sentence is the CGEL's way of indicating that the construction is "grammatical in some dialects only". As a British English native speaker I do not find the construction unacceptable. The issue in the current example seems to be that enough is quite remote from its resultative content clause.

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This was not an easy sentence to parse. In my opinion, the author should've simplified this using punctuation or breaking it into smaller chunks.

But I do think I know what it's referring to:

one senior House GOP member told CNN enough House Republicans are likely to agree to a push [for legislation that would ban bump stocks] that something could pass in the GOP-controlled House

In other words, the amount of (likely agreeing) House Republicans is high enough that it could lead to something actually passing in the GOP-controlled house.

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