Fate of Energy Bills Complicated by Chaos

By August 3, 2007Energy

The level of anger is high in the House this morning, following last night’s power machinations on the ag appropriations bill. The Politico:

In a massive flare-up of partisan tensions, 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.

Rep. Eric Cantor, the chief deputy whip, spoke on the floor this morning (You Tube video).

House is currently in recess. CSPAN is showing last night’s vote and aftermath. Wow. That’s unusually loud.

Energy votes now possibly slipping to Saturday.

UPDATE (10:50 a.m.): C-SPAN now showing morning floor statements from Majority Leader Stenny Hoyer and Rep. McNulty who apologizes for any mishandling of the vote when he was presiding last night. Republican Leader John Boehner is not satisfied. “What happened last night not only disenfranchised minority members, it disenfranchised members of the majority as well.” It has been a pattern of activity that has gone on all year, he says.

Boehner ends on a conciliatory note, praising McNulty, but asks for accountability for yesterday’s developments.

UPDATE (11:20 a.m.) The Hill now has coverage of this morning’s events: “Boehner seeks to smooth waves after House ruckus.” But at a news conference now under way, Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) says the underlying vote — denying food stamp benefits to illegal immigrants — is a matter of principle that must be respected.

UPDATE (11:28 a.m.) David Fredoso in The Corner, making the historical analogy that did indeed come to mind here, as well:

The Democrats’ actions last night are comparable to what Tom DeLay did to keep the vote open and pass the prescription drug bill back in 2003, but actually a bit worse. It was shady enough back then for the Republican leadership to “persuade” members to change their votes while keeping the vote open over the course of three hours. To change the actual vote total takes that a step further.

Doesn’t sound like it will blow over anytime soon. Our hope is that both sides resolve the issue to mutual satisfaction, come back to the floor, and vote down the energy bills.

Join the discussion 2 Comments

  • Joe dragon says:

    What an embarrassment. They should all be thrown out on their ears. Dems and Pubs. Let’s not forget that late-night CAFTA vote that stinks as bad as this pile of…….

    At almost midnight Wednesday, July 27, after holding the vote open forty-seven minutes past the official close, the Republican leadership arm-twisted out their 217th “aye” and the controversial Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) passed into law. Vice President Dick Cheney apparently spent his day in the shadows of House chambers offering pork deals in exchange for votes. It seems fitting that the astronomical sign on the Guatemalan Maya calendar for this ill-fated day was “Ajmaq,” meaning a day of “sins” in which “the ancestors see your wrong-doings.”

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