Sept. 15, 2014 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Republicans Wage Floor Games

Bill Clark/Roll Call
Minority Leader John Boehner has led GOP efforts to use procedural tactics to stall and disrupt the Democratic majority’s agenda.

“They are wasting their time annoying people and accomplishing nothing,” Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) said. “They are angering their own Members.”

“Point of privilege, ‘I did not get my amendment in order.’ Please,” poked Rules Chairwoman Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.).

While the Republicans’ persistence has frustrated Democrats, Frank acknowledged that the minority has few tools at its disposal in a chamber where majority rules.

“When you are in the minority, there’s not a lot you can do. So minorities tend to do the same frustrating things,” Frank said.

To be sure, Democrats engaged in many of the same floor games when they were out of power. And just like the Democrats found in their minority days, Republicans often find their efforts produce limited returns.

On June 18, Republicans demanded a series of votes on amendments to the Commerce, Justice and science appropriations bill. Members were on the floor for eight hours for a record 53 votes in one day.

Democratic leadership was able to capitalize on the floor time to whip the vote on the cap-and-trade climate change bill that narrowly passed the House a week later.

And last Thursday, when Republicans tried to hijack the floor by forcing the clerk to read a lengthy amendment aloud, Democrats cried foul. Democrats attacked the move as political, charging that the GOP was stalling floor procedure only to allow Boehner and other Members to attend the GOP leader’s fundraiser.

Boehner’s office denied the charge.

Still, Republican Study Committee Chairman Tom Price (Ga.) suggested that Members aren’t going to give up trying to make themselves heard, saying, “Our whole issue is so we can bring issues to the floor that are important to the American people and get votes on them.”

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