Thursday, May 26, 2016

Inside The Beltway It's Très Visqueux, Très Louche... But Last Week's Gay Equality Amendment Passes Anyway


I don't mean to brag but when I saw Sean Patrick Maloney's last minute amendment to the Veterans and Military Construction Appropriations bill I was happy and I wondered why the Republicans allowed it through. At the time, I wrote that Maloney had "managed to trick the tired and weary Republicans into letting him add a last minute amendment to the Veterans and Military Construction Appropriations bill the House was debating. The Republicans could have ruled it out of order but they missed the chance and it made it onto the schedule and got voted on Thursday morning. The purpose was be to prohibit federal contractors from discriminating against LGBT people and the vote was such a squeaker that the GOP almost had to drag Paul Ryan into voting."

Well, Ryan struck back. According to a report in The Hill he's changing the rules to keep that kind of embarrassing amendmenting from happening again. (Someone should remind him that Pelsoi and Hoyer would control the DCCC chair forever and that the moment they're gone, if the Democrats have learned a lesson from the last decade of failure, the Republicans will be the House minority party again-- and bound by Ryan's petulant new rule.
Ryan laid out plans at a House GOP conference meeting Tuesday morning to require that members submit their amendments ahead of time so that they are printed in the Congressional Record, according to leadership aides.

...By requiring amendments to be made public in advance, GOP leaders would be able to anticipate difficult votes and figure out a strategy before the last minute. Specifics of the revamped process, such as the deadline for members to file their amendments, haven't been determined by leadership yet.

Upon winning majority control five years ago, House Republicans, led by then-Speaker John Boehner (Ohio), brought back the use of a freewheeling process known as an "open rule" to consider annual appropriations bills.

Under that procedure, members of either party can offer unlimited amendments without having to give advance notice to their colleagues or the public. On most other bills, the majority party's leaders control which amendments get floor time.

Top Republicans have touted the use of open rules as a return to "regular order" and a way to empower individual members. But it has backfired spectacularly on House Republicans twice in the last year.

The most recent example occurred last week when Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.) offered an amendment to a Veterans Affairs spending bill that would enforce an executive order President Obama issued two years ago prohibiting federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

The amendment was set to pass with 217 votes in favor. But members of House GOP leadership could be seen on the floor persuading Republicans to change their votes to sink Maloney's measure. They held the vote open for seven minutes until the amendment failed on a 212-213 vote.

...A spokesman for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) blasted Ryan's proposed rules change.

“This is the second time in less than a week that Speaker Ryan has abandoned regular order in the name of furthering LGBT discrimination in this country. Obviously, we are deeply disappointed that the House Republican leadership has apparently decided that discriminating against LGBT Americans is a top legislative priority," spokesman Drew Hammill said in a statement.
Last night the regular order rules the GOP was always crying about and that Ryan wants to gut, allowed Maloney to reattach his amendment to H.R. 5055, the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Act, and this time the cowardly Republicans who switched their votes at the last minute and under pressure last week, voted in favor of LGBT equality under the law. Instead of losing by one vote, it passed 223-195, even Darrell Issa, who had previously lied and claimed he hit the wrong electronic voting button last time, voted in favor this time. The vote switchers who switched again were electorally vulnerable California Republicans Issa, Jeff Denham, David Valadao, Mimi Walters, plus Bruce Poliquin (R-ME), Greg Walden (R-OR) and David Young (R-IA). Susan Brooks (R-IN), Jim Renacci (R-OH), Tom Rooney (R-FL) and 3 Illinois Republicans-- Rodney Davis, Adam Kinzinger and John Shimkus also switched their votes to YES. (This morning the GOP killed the whole Energy and Water bill-- which they wrote-- rather than see it pass with a sentence about LGBT equality. What a bunch of clowns and jerks!)

Ryan is now ready to hop on board the Trump Train to Nowhere. Bloomberg reports that he's "begun telling confidants that he wants to end his standoff with Donald Trump in part because he’s worried the split has sharpened divisions in the Republican Party... Paul Manafort, told a small group of Republican lawmakers Thursday that he expects Ryan to endorse the party’s nominee as early as this week, according to two people in the meeting." I wasn't sure where this story was going, although I haven't mentioned Herr Trumpf all day today... and then it came to me. You want to talk about slimy Republicans? What could possibly beat this-- and I'm not talking about the Bush's ambassador to France who can't speak French:

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