I first noted this over at Power Line and could hardly believe it. Last night, it appears that Democrats in the House decided they didn’t like the results of a vote and so decided to simply ignore the rules to change those results. The story is detailed on Politico.com in The Crypt’s blog.
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 he 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.
Democrats, however, argued the measure was deadlocked at 214-214 and failed, members and aides on both sides of the aisle said afterward.
One GOP aide saw McNulty gavel the vote to a close after receiving a signal from his leaders – but before reading the official tally. And votes continued to shift even after he closed the roll call – a strange development in itself.
Whatever the final tally, acrimony quickly exploded between lawmakers on either side of the aisle as Democratic leaders tried to plot a solution, while parliamentarians on either side argued over protocol.
Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) 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 from the Republicans, yelling “shame” on Democrats, while they returned fire with angry volleys of their own.
When Democrats finally moved to consider the spending bill as the last vote of the night, furious Republicans left the chamber en masse to protest the maneuver. The House eventually recessed at 11:18 p.m. But Republicans quickly discovered that there was no longer any record of the controversial vote and immediately charged Democrats with erasing the bad result.
So, the Dem in charge of the gavel closed the vote. That’s supposed to mean that the votes cast are then considered locked and no further changes to that vote are permitted. Yet, the Dems continued to cast votes. That’s certainly bad enough and represents a complete dismissal of even the notion of democracy but, to make matters worse, they decide to hold a little “do-over” because they didn’t like the results. When the GOP members protested and walked out, the Dems then acted to erase the records of their stunt.
So, how about it, all of you “BusHitler” people? Point me toward any circumstance where the GOP or the administration has blatantly, and provably moved to circumvent the democratic rule of law and then make those records disappear. And if you thought whatever situation you considered to qualify for that as a bad thing, will you now stand up and condemn – loudly – this action by the House Dems?
I’m not holding my breath.
FYI, Rep. Eric Cantor put this incident up on his blog, too. I’m hoping more Reps will do the same.
Update: The Corner has more analysis and a reference to something I’d frankly forgotten about: the Dem’s entire little episode was recorded on C-SPAN. Go have a read. If you’re truly for democracy here in America, this should be an event that makes you very, very angry. Do something about it and drop your Rep a line.
I had mentioned in a previous post that there was a pending court decision on the matter of those “abusive driver” fees passed by the Virginia General Assembly this past session. The question had been raised over whether those fees were constitutional given that they only applied to Virginians. The argument being pressed in court was that they weren’t as they violated the equal protection under the law guarantee of the 14th Amendment. Yesterday, General District Judge Archie Yeatts ruled the fees were unconstitutional.
A Henrico County judge declared the state’s new abusive driver fees unconstitutional Thursday, likely triggering similar legal challenges in local courts.
General District Court Judge Archie Yeatts issued the ruling in the case of Anthony Price, who was facing his fifth charge of driving on a suspended license.
The nonresident exclusion was the basis for Price’s appeal. His attorneys argued that it violates the 14th Amendment guarantee of equal protection under the law.
In his six-page ruling, Yeatts rejected the state’s assertion that because the General Assembly had a rational basis for limiting the fees to Virginians, the law can’t be struck down on grounds that it violates the 14th Amendment.
“Is there any rational speculation to support the distinction between residents and nonresident `dangerous’ drivers where the stated purpose of the statute is to generate revenue?” Yeatts wrote.
The “rational basis” that’s been reported, thus far, is that the Commonwealth uses the threat of license suspension as leverage to get a person to pay the fee over the 3 years. Since they can’t suspend the license of an out-of-state person, they have no such leverage to get the fee, ergo they didn’t even try to include them.
I’m sorry, but that’s supposed to be a rational basis? You apply the fee to an out-of-state person, you send them the bill, and if they don’t pay you issue an arrest warrant for them. The next time they come through the state and they get topped, you take action on the warrant.
Better yet, how about we examine the “rational basis” for using fees charged for illegal behavior as a revenue stream for fixing our roads? If I understand this correctly, we need the money regardless of anyone’s breakage of a traffic law. Now, just suppose that these fees have precisely the effect the supporters of this law intend and virtually everyone on our roads follows the law. No one gets so much as a parking ticket. No law breakage = no fees. Did the fact that everyone obeyed the law suddenly make road maintenance unnecessary? I don’t think so. So where’s the money going to come from in that case?
Now, stop right there (assuming you had an answer to that last question) and explain why we don’t just do that now?
In any event, the ruling is limited in scope to just the Henrico District but you can bet there’s going to be cases files and very quickly. As the man said, let’s see where this goes.