WASHINGTON (CNN) – A disagreement over a vote late Thursday night has stopped all action on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives – even though the House is trying to pass a number of important bills before leaving for August recess.
The House was working on a series of votes related to an agriculture appropriations bill and a motion was up for a vote that would send the bill back to the appropriations committee. Republicans wanted to do just that, so that the bill could be rewritten to include a prohibition on using money to pay for housing or employment of illegal immigrants.
As the vote was winding down, Rep. Michael McNulty, D-New York, ruled that the motion had failed even though the current vote tally showed the motion had passed by a vote of 215 to 213. Republicans immediately began to shout “fraud” at what they saw as a power play by Democrats.
But, House Democrats say McNulty just made a mistake in ending the vote too early. A Democratic leadership aide says that McNulty called the vote closed when it became tied at 214 to 214, even as seven members tried to vote. After a number of vote switches, Democrats say the final tally was 212 to 216, with the motion failing.
McNulty feels badly and apologized for the vote today, a Democratic aide said Friday.
On Friday morning, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D.-Maryland, offered to bring the matter to the House Ethics Committee but withdrew his offer after Republican House Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, dismissed the idea.
Hoyer and Boehner had a private meeting to discuss the situation but couldn’t resolve the Republicans’ concerns.
On Friday morning, House Republicans had an impromptu caucus meeting and the House floor remains shut down.
–CNN Congressional Producer Evan Glass