House GOP leadership had some trouble with votes Wednesday.
First, leaders yanked the transportation spending bill from the floor with conflicting explanations. Then it was three suspension bills — the kind that are supposed to be noncontroversial.
Unable to muster the two-thirds majority needed to pass the three bills under suspension of the rules, House GOP leaders pulled the measures from the floor schedule and announced they will combine the three into a single piece of legislation. The amalgamated measure will go on the regular calendar, with a rule for floor debate and amendments, and then go before the House for a simple majority vote.
The bills — the Citizen Empowerment Act, the Government Employee Accountability Act, the Common Sense in Compensation Act — are all part of the GOP's Stop Government Abuse Week. Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, said the House was taking up the legislation this week because "fixing broken government policies and reining in an out-of-control bureaucracy are key parts of the Republican jobs plan."
While not quite an embarrassment for leadership — it would have been a major embarrassment had the bills failed to reach the two-thirds threshold in a roll call — the GOP clearly miscalculated support for the measures within their ranks and the Democratic caucus.
Many Democrats dismissed the bills as a waste of time as spending measures languish on the floor schedule while the government, absent a stopgap spending resolution, marches toward a potential shutdown on Sept. 30, the last day of the current fiscal year.