RUSH: The House of Representatives erupted in chaos. Last night a massive flare-up of partisan intentions. ‘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 Democrats lost the vote so they said, (doing impression) ‘Well, screw this. The vote never happened. It just never happened.’
‘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.’ The Democrats are trying to incrementally get what they failed to get in the Comprehensive Destroy the Republican Party Act of 2007, also known as immigration bill. ‘Democrats, however, argued the measure was deadlocked at 214-214 and failed, members and aides on both sides of the aisle said afterward.’ It was a tie, it fails. ‘One Republican aide saw McNulty, the Democrat, gavel the vote to a close after receiving a signal from his leaders, but before reading the official tally. Votes continued to shift even after he closed the roll call,’ which is strange.
How can votes shift after you stop the voting? ‘Whatever the final tally, acrimony quickly exploded between lawmakers on either side of the aisle as Democrat leaders tried to plot a solution while parliamentarians on either side argued over protocol. Steny Hoyer, Nancy Pelosi’s number two, 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 and the Republicans yelling, ‘Shame on Democrats,’ while they returned fire with angry volleys of their own.’ We have some audio sound bites of all this, very late last night. This is Steny Hoyer and speaker pro tem Representative Michael McNulty, with this exchange. They’re both Democrats.
HOYER: Reconsider the vote by which the previous vote was taken.
MCNULTY: Mr. Speaker (shouting) Mr. Speaker, parliamentary inquiry. (shouting) Mr. Speaker, parliamentary inquiry.
HOYER: Must first call the vote. The chair — (shouting) the chair prematurely called the vote at 214 — (booing) called the vote at 214-214. (protesting) While there — (shouting) while — while — (shouting) while there were — while there were votes being entered. After all of the cards were added, the final vote was 212-216 nay. (protesting)
RUSH: It sounds like the House of Commons during prime minister’s questions. So the Democrats stole the vote. They just canceled the vote. Here’s McNulty this morning on the floor of the House as it continued into the night.
MCNULTY: I wish to express my apology to all of the members of the House for calling the vote prematurely. I called the vote at 214-214. Subsequently, members of both parties changed their votes. The board showed a different vote, it was 212 in favor and 216 opposed. The members who had been around for a long time and staff know that I have presided over the House many, many times since 1989 when Jim Wright first put me in the chair, and all during that time I have always strived to be scrupulously fair, and I just want to pledge that I will continue to go out of my way —
RUSH: Yada yada yada.
MCNULTY: — to be fair —
RUSH: Yada yada.
MCNULTY: — when I am given the privilege to serve as speaker pro tem.
RUSH: Yada yada yada. So the time for John Boehner to respond to this, and typically, the Republican leader accept his apology from his good friend.
BOEHNER: What happened last night, happened last night. And we can have a commitment of getting to the bottom of what happened last night, that we ought to proceed with the business that the American people sent us here to deal with.
BOEHNER: This is people’s house. I accept the regrets offered by my friend from New York. Having been in the chair myself, I understand how it can happen. He and I are friends. But we need to have some understanding early today, if in fact we’re going to proceed today in an orderly fashion.
RUSH: Well, Roy Blunt, the Republican whip, was not happy about this, wasn’t satisfied with this exchange.
BLUNT: The vote on the piece of paper was 215-213. The remedy for the House that would solve this problem is to let the vote stand. A majority of this House voted that illegal immigrants would not receive these benefits. That’s what the vote was about. All you’ve gotta do is go back to committee, amend the bill, and come back to the floor. You lost the vote. I didn’t hit the gavel; I didn’t speak over the clerk who was trying to read the vote. The chair did. A week of violations of the principles of the House culminated last night in such an excessive way, the Republicans walked off the floor, and it was a deserved walkout, and I’m ashamed of the House.
RUSH: Right on, right on, right on, right on. Blunt was not satisfied with Boehner’s attempt to mend fences. Eric Cantor, a Republican from Virginia, this morning on the House floor.
CANTOR: I want to respond to some of the comments that were just made. I don’t think he understands our anger. I can assure you that never once did we, in the majority, attempt to steal a vote, attempt to steal a vote to make sure, to make sure that illegal immigrants, to make sure that our position, the Republican position to defeat the ability for benefits to flow to illegal immigrants. That’s what this is about. So, Mr. Speaker, the gentleman from New York admits mistake and apologizes. We accept that apology. It was a bad call. But the price to pay for that bad call should be to admit that the motion to recommit passed, the bill should go back to committee, the committee does its work, and the bill comes back to the floor.
RUSH: We’re laughing at this but this is a serious thing. The Democrats are hell-bent on getting these illegal immigrants here and making them voters. They’re hell-bent on expanding the redistribution of wealth. They are hell-bent on getting them in here and getting them on our welfare rolls and the social safety net, which we, more properly, have termed here the hammock. The Republicans thought they defeated it last night, and I’m sure they did, and the Democrats just couldn’t put up with that so they just stole the vote. The Republicans are not letting go of this. Here is Joe Barton. And I love this. You remember when the Republicans ran the Senate, all we heard from the likes of Harry Reid and Dick Durbin and Dianne Feinstein, ‘What about the rights of the minority?’ as though the minority had the right to win every vote because they were the minority, they were victims. Joe Barton turns that argument around on them.
BARTON: I’ve never seen anything like last night. When you look up on that board on there or over there, it says 215 to 213 final, that’s it. And in the 23 years that I’ve been in the House, I’ve never seen a vote that said final and been gaveled reopened until last night. I mean how important is it that you win a motion to recommit? My gosh, all you do is take it back to committee, report it back out, muscle your troops in line, and pass the bill as you want it. The strength of a democracy is how you treat the minority, and the minority’s strength is in using the rules. When we’re smart enough to use the rules and win, we ought to let it count.
RUSH: Right on, right on, right on, right on. Yeah, Republicans have no rights when they’re the minority. Those minority rights only extend to Democrats.