They just replayed the whole mess from the House last night on C-Span. I spoke to Novak and he doesn't remember anything quite like this happening before. Pretty outrageous, really. It is about as blatant an abuse of power as you can have in a legislative body, to cheat on a vote total.Republicans were playing a game that the minority usually plays — you have your guys vote with the other side, then have them change at the last minute. This forces the majority to come up with votes quickly. Although on close issues they would rather spare their endangered members in swing districts and give them a free vote, the majority leadership then has to tell their endangered members to bite their tongues and vote the party line.
Two Democrats changed their votes to ensure that the measure would fail, but then three Republicans did the same. The vote total was 215-213 in favor of the Republican motion to recommit. At that moment, Rep. Mike McNulty ( D-N.Y.), who was in the Speaker's chair, gavelled out the vote, thinking that it was a tie and the motion had failed. But he had miscounted — the motion had actually passed. The Democrats were only able to change this by cheating and changing more votes after the gavel.
[Update #2] (Via Hot Air) From The Hill we see that McNulty apologizes (Maybe because C-Span replayed the entire thing and the Dems knew they were busted?)
McNulty took to the floor Friday morning to apologize for his action.
“I want to express regret that I gaveled the vote too early,” McNulty said and apologized for his role in the confusion that rocked the House floor last night.
McNulty gaveled the motion to recommit closed at 214 to 214, when the final vote tally on the board was 213 to 215 after Florida Republican Reps. Mario Diaz Balart, Lincoln Diaz Balart and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen changed their votes from a “no” to a “yes.”
“We went to the front of the House [to change our votes],”Rep. Mario Diaz Balart said, adding that the board had changed to the count of 213 to 215 in favor of the motion to recommit, and that the gavel went down but McNulty hadn’t seen the change.
“It stayed there for several minutes …then the votes started to change again,” he said, causing the vote to flip. “That’s when there was the meltdown.”
Let me repeat...BUSTED
[End Update #2]
[Update #3] An additional thought after watching the comments on C-Span about last nights fiasco, is the underlying issue behind that vote. It was the Republicans attempt to STOP ILLEGAL ALIENS FROM BEING GIVEN WELFARE, with us, the American people, footing the bill. It is an important issue. Our tax dollars should not be used to support illegal aliens, those that have broke our laws in coming here and are here illegally. Now, the Democrats think we should pay for their foodstamps and healthcare also? Nope, not happening. [Update ended]
I rarely do this, but because of how I titled this post, I am going to quote the last paragraph first, from Politico, then move along with the story.
When Democrats finally moved to consider the spending bill as the last vote of the night, furious Republicans left the chamber en masse to protest the maneuver. The House eventually recessed at 11:18 p.m. But Republicans quickly discovered that there was no longer any record of the controversial vote and immediately charged Democrats with erasing the bad result.
So, the Democratic politicians have hit a new low, even for themselves. If they cannot win a vote, they will simply cheat.
No big surprise actually, but it is good their hands are being called on it.
(Continued from above)
In a massive flare-up of partisan tensions (video link courtesy Breitbart.tv), Republicans walked out on a House vote late Thursday night to protest what they believed to be Democratic maneuvers to reverse an unfavorable outcome for them.
The flap represents a complete breakdown in parliamentary procedure and an unprecedented low for the sometimes bitterly divided chamber.
The rancor erupted shortly before 11 p.m. as Rep. Michael R. McNulty (D-N.Y.) gaveled close the vote on a standard procedural measure with the outcome still in doubt.
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 – but before reading the official tally. And votes continued to shift even after he closed the roll call - 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.
The Corner has an email that a house aide sent in, explaining things:
An outrage was committed on the House [last night].
While voting on a motion to recommit for the agricultural appropriations legislation, the presiding chair (who is a Democrat member) gaveled the vote closed. The tally was clear and the vote was over. The Republicans had won. Then, realizing what had happened - the Dems allowed just their people to keep voting to change the result. Let's be clear, this wasn't holding the vote open - they change the results of a vote that was legally declared over.
Rep. Cantor wrote a blog post describing what happened.
This is an insult to our democracy, something that Stalin would recognize. It is an unprecedented violation of our democracy that can not be allowed to stand. Do we live in a democracy or a dictatorship?
And, what was so important that the Dems went to all this trouble — it was vote to ensure that illegal immigrants couldn't get taxpayer funding in the agriculture bill. The Dems are so opposed to this, that they would violate our democracy.
Eric Cantor's blog says this:
High drama on the house floor tonight. Dems brought an Agriculture appropriations bill to the floor greatly expanding government programs, yet again. Republicans moved to recommit the bill to committee, in order to add language prohibiting any taxpayer funds under the agriculture programs from going to illegal immigrants.
The Democrat chair closed the roll call when Republicans had won – as the electronic voting tally indicated enough votes to return the bill to committee. Shouting erupted on the floor, as the Democrats attempted to change the outcome of the vote after the gavel had come down – the vote was closed.
Republicans attempted to adjourn, but we were ruled out of order. Confusion set in as members waited at least five minutes for the chair’s decision.
Republicans members then began to leave the floor in protest, after Democrats proved they would go to whatever lengths necessary to further their agenda. A bad call by the chair, the vote was closed. Then the Democrats allowed their members to continue voting to change the outcome. An outrage. Is this a democracy or a dictatorship?
All but a few Republicans refused to vote on final passage since it became obvious that a fair vote would not happen.
UPDATE:Republicans are conferencing this morning after the travesty that occurred last night on the floor of the house. The overwhelming sense of the members is, we have to stand up and reject the democrats manipulation of the rules of the house to further their attempts to thwart Republican efforts to stop government benefits from flowing to illegal immigrants. Republican house members are demanding that democrats right their wrongs.
Compliments of Captain's Quarters, we have the video of Cantor's response on the floor, afterwards:
If we all thought there was massive partisanship before this, count on it being worse now, because once the old rules of procedure are stripped away like this, nothing but chaos can be left over.
Then again, after these maneuvers, if this manages to get past the Senate where the Republicans can demand a 60 vote threshold, the president can and should veto it and force them to do it right as they should have to begin with. With such a close vote, there is no way in hell that either house will be able to obtain the two-thirds majority needed to override a presidential veto.
I am sure more will be coming out about this, so check back for updates.