On Thursday, Democratic legislators got enough votes to nullify overt LGBT discrimination in a military spending bill. It wasn’t actually the bill in question at the time — the offending language was on the National Defense Authorization Act, passed last Wednesday, and allowed government contractors to fire and harass LGBT employees in the name of Jesus. It passed 277 to 147 then, but on Thursday, New York Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney introduced language into a different bill to prevent said discrimination. And it passed! To cheers! When the clock ran out, the new language passed 217-206! That’s cool, right?!
Even though the amendment had enough votes to pass when the clock hit zero on the two-minute, the Republican speaker pro tempore didn’t drop the gavel. He held the vote open for enough minutes for GOP leaders to work on flipping the 35 Republican yea votes to nay. Representatives started chanting “Shame! Shame!” and calling for regular order — calling for the gavel, since time had run out — but curiously, that didn’t happen. Didn’t happen, at least, until five minutes and 37 seconds alter, after the vote had shifted to 212-213.
Maloney said he’d approached McCarthy to urge regular order but was dismissed.
“I said, ‘What are you doing? You can let this go; your own members are supporting it,'” Maloney said, recounting the exchange with McCarthy. “And he said, ‘Get back on your own side of the aisle.’ And I said to him, ‘What side of the aisle am I supposed to stand on to support equality?'”
Maloney emphasized that many Republicans held their ground and refused to switch sides. Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.) “was at the head of that list,” Maloney said.
“McCarthy went down and talked to him, and [Dent] told [McCarthy] to get lost,” Maloney said. “And McCarthy then went around and twisted everybody else’s arms, and it was disgraceful.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything that craven and that ugly in my time in Congress,” Maloney added.
The GOP leaders also allowed reps to change their votes electronically, rather than going down to the well as is procedure for a two-minute vote — although, since this was apparently actually a seven-and-a-half-minute vote, I suppose it could be argued that standard regulations don’t apply.
Your representative government at work. Breaking the rules for Jesus, for the sake of upholding discrimination.