While Rep. Chris Van Hollon (D-Md.) recently decried a Republican change to the House rules to prevent a clean budget bill from getting a vote and thus keeping the government shut down, New York Rep. Louise Slaughter (D) smelled a rat two weeks ago when the change was made.
The new rule allowed only Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) the ability to call up the Senate-approved clean funding bill.
According to a GOP aide who spoke with CNN, the rule “basically prevents [Minority] Leader [Nancy] Pelosi from hijacking the floor since the Senate refused to go to conference.”
A clip of Slaughter addressing the Rules Committee was posted online Monday.
“Under regular order of the House,” Slaughter said, “any member can call for a vote on Senate proposal, but you’ve changed that regular order under this resolution.”
“What we’re actually attempting to do is to get our people together,” responded Rule Committee Chairman Pete Sessions (R-Texas). “... We’re trying to actually have a conference.”
“That doesn’t tell me why you changed the regular order,” Slaughter responded.
Sessions claimed, “There could be a privileged motion at any time.”
“I think you’ve taken that away,” she said.
“That’s what I’m saying,” he agreed. “We took that away.”
“Well then how can we do it at any time?”
Sessions insisted, “We want to go to conference.”
“Oh, mercy,” Slaughter responded. “It just gets deeper and deeper.”
“You should see the resolve we have to get these four groups to come together,” he told her, referring to Senate Republicans and Democrats and House Republicans and Democrats.
“I want to tell you the resolve that I think you’ve got,” she added. “And despite the fact that every one of you said, over and over ad nauseam, that you didn’t want to shut the government down, we spent some time down in my office watching so many of your members — right after they were elected in 2010 — saying how much they would like to shut down the House to great applause.”
“I think it is really shortsighted,” she added. “I think it is an atrocity to the Rules of the House. And I think you’re putting the whole country through this angst and this aggravation that we did not need to go. This one we could have done without.”
“And I must tell you that I’m more and more angry now that I understand what you have done is take away our ability is to really make a motion for that Senate vote,” she continued.
The next day, the government shut down. After 15 days, Rep. Cantor still hasn’t brought the Senate bill up for a vote in the House.