Shameful: House Republicans Secretly Change Votes on Equality Measure to Defeat It At the Last Second

It’s no secret that the vast majority of the Republican party opposes equality for the LGBT community. While there’s been some evolution on this issue, many within the GOP are still so beholden to the far-right base to win primary elections that they frequently continue to embrace this discriminatory bigotry to appease some of the most ignorant among us.

Yet another great example of this was seen today in the House, where Republicans used some shady maneuvering to defeat an amendment that would have continued protections put in place by President Obama that prevented members of the LGBT community from being discriminated against by federal contractors.

As reported by Talking Points Memo:

The procedural maneuvering is a little complicated but here’s the gist: Late Wednesday, the House had passed defense legislation which included language that undermines an executive order from President Obama that prohibited federal contractors from discriminating against LGBT people. Rep. Sean Maloney (D-NY) then offered an amendment that would have reversed the anti-LGBT provision in the defense bill.

That’s when things got interesting.

Initially, it looked like Maloney’s amendment would pass in a Thursday morning vote. At the end of the two minutes allotted to members for casting votes, there were 217 votes in favor of the amendment, with 206 votes against.

But Republicans held the vote open for about another six minutes, and slowly a handful of the “yea” votes from Republicans switched to “nea.”

As the vote remained open, shouts of “Regular order!” could be heard on the House floor. And as Republicans came closer to defeating the bill, people began chanting, “Shame! Shame! Shame!”

Shortly after there were enough votes to defeat the amendment, the voting was closed, and the amendment ultimately failed 213-212.

To put it in another way, House Republican leadership kept the vote open just long enough to have a few Republicans switch their votes at the last second from “yea” to “nea” in order to defeat the amendment by one vote.

However, that’s not the entire story. Apparently the Republicans who switched their votes didn’t even walk up to the desk to do so, as has been standard protocol.

“I saw no one come to the desk to change their vote,” House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer said. “Not one of those members who apparently changed their vote because it kept changing on the board – came to this well and had the courage to change from green to red, or red to green. How is that possible?”

While they don’t technically have to walk up to the desk, it’s a common practice in the House to do so if you’re switching your vote on something. Call it the, “I’m not too much of a coward to let people know I’m switching my vote” move. So the fact that apparently none of the Republicans who switched their vote had the courage to do so in front of the rest of the House shows how spineless these people truly are.

Naturally, House Majority Leader Paul Ryan played dumb about the whole ordeal, saying he didn’t “know the answer” when he was asked about these Republicans changing their votes on the amendment.

Hoyer then accused Republicans of initially voting “yea” because they assumed the amendment would fail. Once they realized the amendment would pass, they kept voting open for six extra minutes until enough Republicans could switch their vote, ultimately leading to a one vote defeat.

How convenient.

Rep. Maloney had plenty to say after his amendment was defeated.

“In the past day, House Republicans have gone out of their way to rig votes and block bills that prevent discrimination against LGBT people,” Maloney said. “When they break their our own rules to make sure taxpayer dollars can go to folks who discriminate, they showed who they truly are – bigots and cowards.”

Couldn’t have said it any better myself.

It really is unbelievable to think, in 2016, we’re still having a “debate” over whether or not someone can be discriminated against based on who they love. It’s absolutely and completely absurd. Imagine for a moment the outrage we would see in this country if your employer could fire you for being in an interracial marriage, having a child out-of-wedlock or getting a divorce. But they can’t, because doing so would be completely illegal.

However, it’s still legal in many places for someone to be fired for simply being a member of the LGBT community.

It’s stunts like this that should wake up rational people all over this country to get their asses out to vote this November. Because if we don’t, all we’re doing is empowering Republicans to continue their long and cowardly tradition of supporting ignorance and bigotry.

Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.


Facebook comments

  • Brian

    Where were you when Dems did this to pass the ACA?

    • Howard Sands

      I was here on earth when that didn’t happen. But even if it did, its pathetic to use something totally unrelated to defend discrimination.

      • Brian

        They steamrolled the ACA through using underhanded tactics and now hardworking Americans have their hours cut or premiums rise, or worse pay an oversized tax hike, to satisfy Obama’s ego.
        Meanwhile you’re whining about mentally ill people not being enabled.

      • Howard Sands

        I don’t usually respond to people who have their “facts” wrong. Its a known talking point of republicans to make the claim that you have. It isn’t true. its incredibly easy to fact check things these days, which makes it really ironic that republicans lie more and more these days. I suggest you bow out gracefully, and get back to the topic at hand, rather than to continue to divert to this falsehood. To paraphrase Mark Twain, I suggest you remain quiet and be thought a fool, rather than speak and remove all doubt. The following is just ONE example of the facts.

      • Brian

        Linking a liberally biased site and continuing to perpetuate the delusion that the ACA wasn’t passed using underhanded tactics, and didn’t hurt millions of Americans in order to “help” a small minority on welfare.
        Oh you silly libs. Never change. Seriously. It’ll keep you from winning elections.

      • Howard Sands

        You did a couple of very typical things that are done by modern day Republicans. You made a claim that a fact checking site is liberally biased (which may be true), without making note of my comment that its just ONE of many sources of the info. You also successful hijacked a conversation about something important. I say successfully because I walked right into your plan to divert. Another thing you did, with your last comment, is to remove all doubt about you being a fool.

  • Eg Kbbs

    One more “bonus” in the way they did it.

    This way the initial news reports were that the House voted to overturn allowing discrimination (that is, voted to ban discrimination).

    A good person does the right thing no matter who is watching. Looks like Congress takes credit for doing the right thing while doing the wrong.

  • Mark Stone

    Wait! Jeff Sent an and Darryl Issa an exceptional murican, voted for LGBT protection then flip flopped. Holy cow the world must be coming to an end because these two even thinking about supporting LGBT rights is a miracle and a repugnut flip flopping? Never happens. Wait…does this mean hell froze over too?

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