Mariel Saez 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC - This afternoon, House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) went to the Floor for colloquy but no House Republican joined him to offer the schedule for next week. Instead, Whip Hoyer discussed the House Republican leadership's decision to hold open a vote today in order to force their Members to change their votes to defeat an amendment that would ban discrimination against LGBT Americans. Below is an excerpt from the colloquy:
Click here for a link to the video.
“I thank you, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker… I’m prepared to yield to someone to tell us the schedule for the week to come. Pending someone telling me about the schedule for the week to come, let me observe, Madam Speaker, as someone who has served in this House for some extended period of time, some 36 years.
“I was here in the era not too long ago, but long ago when if we had done to the Republicans what was done to us, what was done to switch votes so that discrimination could prevail, there would be outrage expressed long into the night from our Republican colleagues. Who would accuse us of undermining democracy, undermining this House and making the House less than it should be.
“Two-hundred and seventeen people stood up and said we ought not to discriminate, and then very frankly, Madam Speaker, the leadership on the Republican side started its activity.
“I’ve been the Majority Leader, I’ve been the Whip, I understand that process, and they reached out to people and said, no, let us be able to discriminate. Let contractors be able to discriminate.
“[Madam] Speaker, seven people who had voted not to allow discrimination decided, perhaps, that principle was not as important as they thought just a minute or so before. I have a list of those names here—a lamentable list of people who did the right thing, who stood up for nondiscrimination, and then were opportuned to change their vote. And the record reflects, [Madam] Speaker, sadly, that they changed their vote.
“I won't characterize those votes because that would not be in order on this Floor, and they will have themselves to look at tonight in the mirror and explain to themselves whether their first vote was a principled vote or whether they had a Damascus Road experience in the few minutes that transpired between their voting not to allow discrimination until they later, just a few minutes later, at the opportuning of some of their leaders voted to allow discrimination.
“A sad day, [Madam] Speaker, in the history of the House."
“It appears that no one is going to be able to tell me what the schedule is for the week to come. I will tell you that's unfortunate. I hope there is a schedule for the week to come because there's a lot to be done.
“We haven't finalized Zika. We passed a bill here, which we think was inadequate. We haven't dealt with Flint. We need to pass Puerto Rico restructuring. I think they've made some progress on that. I congratulate the Speaker and the Leader for facilitating that progress. We don't have a voting rights bill scheduled, we need to do that.
“There are a number of other serious pieces of legislation this House needs to consider. We're going to go out next week and we will have no colloquy next week, [Madam] Speaker. There will be no opportunity to discuss the schedule for… June or the weeks thereafter, to do some of the serious business that confronts us and to help some of the people in this country that need help. Having said that, [Madam] Speaker, it's clear that nobody on the other side is going to have any response and I yield back the balance of my time.”