Congressman Devin Nunes (R-CA22) voted no on Thursday, May 19, 2016, on the Maloney amendment to H.R. 4974, the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2017. Congressman Maloney put forward his amendment to insure that the attempt to insert wording into the bill allowing Federal contractors to ignore President’s Obama’s executive order, #11246, could not be used to discriminate against the LGBT community, when based on a “sincerely held religious belief”.
Maloney’s amendment initially passed a routine two minute vote, but when the GOP leadership realized they had lost the vote, they held the vote open in violation of their own rules, until enough Republican representatives could be convinced to change their already cast aye votes to no. The final tally, after the extended time, was 212 yes, 213 no. This is the point when the floor erupted into shouts of “shame!” that have been reported in various news accounts.
There’s no way to tell who changed their votes in the “overtime” the House leadership instituted on this vote. House rules state a member must come to “the well” (the front of the chamber, where the Speaker and administrative staff sit) to change an already cast vote. The House Minority Whip, Congressman Steny Hoyer (D-MD), challenged the vote changes, but was rebuffed by the Republican speaker in charge for the day (the position for daily business rotates among members of the House). Mr. Hoyer demanded to know how votes were changed when no Representatives came to “the well” to change their votes. Mr. Hoyer’s demands were ignored. We do know that Congressman Nunes’ vote will be recorded as “no”, but there is no information available regarding whether his vote was initially no or yes. (I’m going out on a limb here, and assume it was “no” from the start.)
The House GOP, with Devin Nunes as one of it’s leaders (Chairman of the “Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence”), has voted to allow religious discrimination against LGBT individuals, in violation of the President’s executive order. The White House has stated the President will veto the bill if it contains the wording to void the President’s executive order, among other concerns.
It’s clear that the Republican party is still strongly anti-LGBT, and Devin Nunes cannot be counted on to support the LGBT community in his district, or the rest of the nation.
UPDATE: 5/21/2016 6:25pm Pacific Time:
The New Civil Rights Movement reports the following Republican Representatives changed their votes:
Jeff Denham (Calif.)
Darrell Issa (Calif.)
Bruce Poliquin (Maine)
David Valadao (Calif.)
Greg Walden (Ore.)
Mimi Walters (Calif.)
David Young (Iowa)
Image: United States House of Representatives