In what just might be the dirtiest trick ever played in the House of Representatives, last night Democrats tried first to reverse the outcome of an unfavorable vote, then made it disappear altogether.
According to Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA)'s website, when the electronic vote tally indicated that a Republican motion to recommit an Agriculture appropriations bill to committee had apparently won, the Dems simply stopped the vote.
The vote to "add language prohibiting any taxpayer funds under the agriculture programs from going to illegal immigrants" had apparently passed 215 to 213. But House Dems would have neither their Hispandering nor their government-bloating denied.
"One GOP aide saw [Speaker Pro Tempore Dem. Rep. Michael R.] McNulty gavel the vote to a close after receiving a signal from his leaders - but before reading the official tally. And votes continued to shift even after he closed the roll call - a strange development in itself."
McNulty declared the vote a draw.
After 5 minutes of rancor, Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-MD.) offered a motion to reconsider a vote his party had already lost. The understandably PO'd minority stormed out of the chamber in protest of the majority's despicable tactics.
And for their next trick, Poof! The Dems vanished the vote like a vaudeville rabbit.
"An outrage," writes Cantor, who then asks:
"Is this a democracy or a dictatorship?"
Update: This morning, Majority Leader Hoyer appeared on the House floor and attempted to calm the waters with an empty apology. Hoyer promised to refer the matter to the House ethics committee for a complete review. An unconvinced Minority Leader John A. Boehner, (R-OH) compared such a solution to sending it into "a black hole."
With the House still in a limbo recess, the two are said to be in conference, supposedly in search of an agreement on how to proceed.
How indeed -- Republicans insist that the Dems violated voting rules and demand that the original vote stand while Dems appear quite happy with the results they chicaned and wish to move on.
Meanwhile, as all major news services continue to cover the tragic Minneapolis bridge collapse exclusively, C-SPAN just aired a group of Republican representatives commenting on last night's debacle.
Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana was first to speak and demanded that their winning vote, which denies taxpayer dollars to provide welfare benefits and free medical insurance to illegal immigrants, must stand. Subsequent speakers spoke of a Democratic party more interested in feeding, educating and sheltering illegals than American citizens.
Brian Bilbray (R-CA) asked rhetorically how we can maintain a representative form of government when voting rules are so easily broken.
Next stop: Single Digit Congressional approval ratings?