House Democrats unruly after LGBT protection amendment narrowly fails

Quite a Thursday: Top House Republicans today used an underhanded voting tactic and brazen arm-twisting to block a provision that would have given additional employment protections to LGBT Americans. This measure, or Motion to Recommit, comes after Republicans inserted a last minute amendment into the NDAA from Rep. Steve Russell (OK) which would overturn President Obama's executive order protecting LGBT federal contractors from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

"They are bigots, they are haters", a seething Democratic Rep. Steve Israel said about House Republicans.

The Maryland Democrat took issue with the amount of time lawmakers had to change their vote after the two-minute vote time was up.

The amendment, sponsored by Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, D-New York, would have prevented contractors from securing government work if they discriminate against members of the LGBT community.

As the votes came in, it became clear Maloney had the support to pass his amendment. "The leader went around and twisted their arms, and they voted for discrimination", Maloney told Politico.

As the scene unfolded, reporters outside the chamber could hear jeers as the gavel came down with a new 212-213 vote tally, defeating the measure. McCarthy, in turn, rejected the assertion that Republicans unfairly held the vote open to prevail.

He said he had approached Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a California Republican, as McCarthy worked on GOP colleagues to vote against the measure.

When Maloney walked over to McCarthy to appeal to him to allow the measure to pass, saying plenty of Republicans backed it, he said McCarthy told him "get on my own side of the aisle". "As I said last night, this is about whether we stand for equal rights or we rationalize discrimination".

After it failed, House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Maryland, appeared visibly angry and spoke on the floor, pointing out he never saw any Republicans come to the front of the chamber to change their votes.

'There are some people who are emotional... that's beyond the pale.

When asked about Republican members switching their votes, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) told reporters he didn't know anything about it.

But Ryan "is engaged in understanding" how the House will try to push back on the transgender bathrooms issue, House Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions (R-Texas) said. Republican leaders held open the vote and Democrats say Republicans twisted arms, pressuring members of their conference to switch their votes so that it would fail.

Hoyer later revealed on Twitter the seven Republican members who changed their vote on the amendment: Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA), Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR), Rep. Mimi Walters (R-CA), Rep. David Young (R-IA), Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), Rep. Bruce Poliquin (R-ME), and Rep. David Valadao (R-CA).

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