WASHINGTON, DC – House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement this afternoon after the Republican leadership held a 15-minute vote open for 38 minutes on an amendment offered by Bernie Sanders (I-VT). The Republican leadership only closed the vote on this Amendment after it had twisted the arms of eight Republicans who initially voted for the provision and then changed their votes at the leadership’s urging. The Sanders Amendment to the Commerce-Justice-State Appropriations Bill, which was defeated on a 210-210 tie vote, would prohibit funds in the bill from being used under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to acquire library circulation records, library patron lists, library Internet records, bookseller sales records, or bookseller customer lists.
“House Republican leaders proved once again today that they will stop at virtually nothing to win a vote, even if that means running roughshod over the most basic principles of democracy such as letting Members vote their conscience and calling the vote after the allotted time has elapsed.
“They ought to be ashamed of themselves, but when it comes to holding votes open and twisting the arms of their own Members they clearly have no shame.
“These back-alley tactics have no place in the greatest deliberative body in the world. They might be the lifeblood of the tin-horn dictator, but not a world leader. It’s an embarrassment.
“As outrageous as this abuse of power was today, it is another demonstration of the deep divisions within the Republican Party on a host of critical issues. The leadership is having a difficult time keeping its Members in line, because even many Republicans recognize that the leadership more often than not takes an extreme view.”