House Democrats tried an old legislative trick intended to embarrass Republicans but fell short when the GOP defeated the upstart Republican Study Committee budget on Wednesday.
Democrats voted "present" on the measure, meaning Republicans had to supply all the votes to either pass or defeat the RSC budget. The bill failed on a 104-132 vote, with 171 members voting present.
Still, Democrats succeeded in one respect: They forced Republicans to vote down their colleagues’ bill. In fact, 61 members of the RSC voted against the budget produced by the group, whose authors boast that it would balance the budget within five years. Some of those included House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia, GOP Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington, Budget Chairman Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin and Chief Deputy Majority Whip Peter Roskam of Illinois.
The present votes, often reserved for times when members have a conflict of interest on legislation, brought out some light ribbing between Ryan and House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md.
“Hey Steny, have a nice day. Your members have all these conflicts of interests,” Ryan could be heard saying off the House floor.
“Yeah, we know our interests,” Hoyer replied.
With the defeat of the RSC budget and the Democratic-offered alternative behind them, the House will meet again Thursday and Republicans are almost certainly set to pass the budget blueprint put together by Ryan.