That House Vote Dramedy
So the Democrats shut down a vote before it was finished. Republicans are pissed. I’m bored.
Details remain fuzzy, but numerous Republicans argued afterward that they had secured a 215-213 win on their motion to bar undocumented immigrants from receiving any federal funds apportioned in the agricultural spending bill for employment or rental assistance. Democrats, however, argued the measure was deadlocked at 214-214 and failed, members and aides on both sides of the aisle said afterward.
One GOP aide saw McNulty gavel the vote to a close after receiving a signal from his leaders â€“ but before reading the official tally. And votes continued to shift even after he closed the roll call â€“ a strange development in itself.
Whatever the final tally, acrimony quickly exploded between lawmakers on either side of the aisle as Democratic leaders tried to plot a solution, while parliamentarians on either side argued over protocol.
Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) eventually offered a motion to reconsider, according to floor staff on either side, ostensibly giving members a chance to recast their votes. But the maneuver sparked a chorus of angry protests from the Republicans, yelling â€œshameâ€ on Democrats, while they returned fire with angry volleys of their own.
Again, Republicans are crying foul, but James Joyner reminds us…didn’t the Republicans do this with CAFTA?
The 217 to 215 vote came just after midnight, in a dramatic finish that highlighted the intensity brought by both sides to the battle. When the usual 15-minute voting period expired at 11:17 p.m., the no votes outnumbered the yes votes by 180 to 175, with dozens of members undeclared. House Republican leaders kept the voting open for another 47 minutes, furiously rounding up holdouts in their own party until they had secured just enough to ensure approval. [â€¦]
The last-minute negotiations for Republican votes resembled the wheeling and dealing on a car lot. Republicans who were opposed or undecided were courted during hurried meetings in Capitol hallways, on the House floor and at the White House. GOP leaders told their rank and file that if they wanted anything, now was the time to ask, lawmakers said, and members took advantage of the opportunity by requesting such things as fundraising appearances by Cheney and the restoration of money the White House has tried to cut from agriculture programs. Lawmakers also said many of the favors bestowed in exchange for votes will be tucked into the huge energy and highway bills that Congress is scheduled to pass this week before leaving for the August recess
Let’s also remember, the last paragraph in the previous blockquote. Hoyer offered a motion to reopen this one so people could recast their votes.
So what’s the big deal already?