Democrats spent much of the week tweaking the climate change and energy bill in order to secure the support of wavering colleagues, with the alterations being placed in a 301-page amendment which was added to a nearly 1,200 page bill. Such legislative horsetrading is commonplace, but what upset the Republicans was that the amendment wasn't released until 3:09 am Friday morning.
Acting in protest, Boehner took to the House floor and began talking. And talking. And talking.
"This is the biggest job-killing bill that has ever been on the floor of the House of Representatives. Right here. This bill," Boehner, R-Ohio, thundered.
He then pulled out the 301-page amendment and began reading.
"I didn't get past the first page, where on line 5, 'strike 1992 and insert 1988' and on line 13, 'strike 1992 and insert 1988,'" he drolly read. "What is the impact of this day change?"
In all, Boehner spoke for one hour.
"Then we get to page 9... as we go through this, page 41... page 87, the development of a global framework for the regulation of greenhouse gas emmissions..."
The leaders of the House are customarily granted unlimited speaking time, but when the Republican leader's speech went far beyond the two-and-a-half minutes officially granted, Democrats objected.
"Is this an attempt to try to get some people to leave on a close vote?" asked Rep Henry Waxman,D-California, the bill's lead sponsor.
In a sign of impartial ruling by the Speaker pro tempore, Rep Ellen Tauscher, D-California, Boehner was allowed to continue speaking.
"The American people have a right to know what's in this bill. They have a right to know what we're voting on," Boehner roared, which was followed by thunderous applause by his Republican colleagues.
And without missing a beat, he continued, "Let me get to the bottom of page 155."