We told you earlier this week about how GOP leaders in the U.S. House managed to avoid a messy floor fight over a mini “religious liberty”-like provision on a defense policy bill. They weren’t so lucky on Thursday, when a similar amendment Democrats sought to attach to a veterans health spending measure prompted a messy fracas in front of the C-SPAN cameras.
It all started when an amendment from New York Democrat Sean Maloney appeared to be on the verge of adoption that would have barred taxpayer money from being used to pay government contractors caught discriminating against employees based on their sexual orientation.
But Democrats began crying foul when GOP leaders allowed more time for the vote in order to persuade more Republicans to switch their vote to “no.” Check out the above video via C-SPAN.
At one point, a monitor in the House gallery showed there were 217 votes supporting the legislation, eliciting cheers of joy from Democrats who thought the measure might actually pass. But over the course of about 10 minutes, those votes suddenly dropped one by one to 212 — and the amendment failed.
The video shows Gainesville Republican Doug Collins presiding over the chamber as a designee for House GOP leaders while Democrats booed and shouted “shame!”
The melee is the latest chapter in what’s sure to be a contentious back-and-forth about LGBT rights, freedom of speech and executive overreach on Capitol Hill this summer.
Meanwhile, Georgia’s two senators signed onto a letter with two dozen GOP colleagues criticizing the Obama administration over its bathroom guidance for transgender students in public schools.
“It is not appropriate for a federal executive agency to issue ‘guidance’ for every school as if it were the law. Article I of the U.S. Constitution gives Congress the exclusive right to make laws,” the senators wrote in their letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Education Secretary John King, according to The Hill.