August 3rd, 2007
10:59 AM ET
12 years ago

House floor shut down by vote tally dispute

Work stopped on the House floor late Thursday night.

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

Filed under: Uncategorized
soundoff (24 Responses)
  1. Anonymous, Calif

    The agricultural industry is dependent on immigrant workers.

    I rather eat produce grow on American farms using immigrant workers, than IMPORT produce from Mexico or other countries.

    The Republicans are again using a wedge issue to grandstand.

    This bill had nothing to do with amnesty. The illegal workers are already here working on farms. They need someplace to stay don't they?

    It's either that or American produce won't be competitive enough and supermarkets will start to import from Mexico, where they use a lot of pesticides that are not regulated.

    August 3, 2007 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  2. Kurt, Washington DC

    Democrats...the real culture of corruption! Stealing votes. Sending your tax dollars to the illegal immigrant.

    August 3, 2007 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  3. Ed, Watertown, MA

    So if there is a dispute over closing a vote early, why don't they just do a revote? The Republicans kept the Medicaid Prescription bill open for hours longer than the rules call for to pass that. How long was this kept open?

    August 3, 2007 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  4. Steve Flagstaff Arizona

    Tancredo is right on the target! It is time to take control and also time for America to stop pandering to the left-winged loons within our country.

    August 3, 2007 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  5. Greg, Chicago, IL

    Great, so if terrorists from Lithuania attacked Egypt, Egypt would be within it's right to blow up the Vatican according to this guy? It's at least reassuring to know that Tancredo has practically no chance of ever becoming President.

    August 3, 2007 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  6. Anonymous

    Anon Calif–

    Dont worry, company's like Walmart are already importing product from South America...

    August 3, 2007 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  7. julian, Ashland City, TN

    great. so the democrats' plan to restore this country is to be as evil and deceitful as republicans? thanks a lot. can we have a third party now? please?

    August 3, 2007 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  8. J. Turchek, Stuart, VA

    It appears that the “most ethical Congress in history is hard at work.” Incidentally CNN why are you burying this story? Voter fraud on the very floor of the Congress, this sounds like a giant story.

    August 3, 2007 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  9. Rusty Wade, Brundidge, Alabama

    If the argicultureal industry is "dependent" on illegal low wage workers, it is time to change that now.

    Produce grown in California has killed and made Americans sick this year, so there doesn't seem to me to be a reason to denie Mexicans JOBS at home and demand instead that they risk their lives to be=reak the laws to come here to work in fields.

    The truth ( I realize that is not important to people with an agenda )is that after Cesar Chavez made illegal alien grape picking too expensive, farmers changed to mechanical means to keep the prices down and compete.

    If we stop allowing the slavery ( low wage illegal workers) some farmers will go by the wayside, some will move thier operations to countries where they can continue to exploit workers, and some will develope lawfull ways to compete.

    As to those workers needing housing , the populace as a whole does not have the obligation to suppliment farmers labor costs by extending benifits to migrant workers so that farmers can continue to reap the rewards of "cheap labor". The farmers must either pay a living wage, or find another way to accomplish farm tasks.

    No one would agree to extending federal benefits to auto workers so that manufacturers could build cars using below minumum wage assemblers to compete.. There is no difference here!

    It was about giving services to illegal workers who do nothing positive for this country. Any savings a shopper might get passed along to them by the people who are exploiting these workers is more than canceled out by the costs all citizens pay for this lawlessness.
    The primary function of government is to protect the rights of one individual from being denied by another 'more powerful" agency. The reality is that our government has for all to long allowed looter exploiting employers to deny decent wages to workers, by allowing them to import and exploit foriegn workers.

    This has got to stop, it never should have been allowed to start. The fact that the laws have been broken in the past, and poor citizens from other countries have been allowed to die struggling to get here only to be robbed of thier value and a mandated minimum living standard here canot be used as an excuse to allowe this to continue!

    August 3, 2007 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  10. Pat Putignano, Huntington, NY

    Republicans are making a mountain out of a mole-hill. It was a procedural mistake without political gain. Unlike their corrupt voting tactics, like keeping the voting open far longer than allowed for the flawed medicaid reform law.

    August 3, 2007 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  11. M

    It sounds to me like an honest mistake. I used to work on the Hill, and I know for a fact that it's easy for people to claim "But I'm about to vote!"

    Members of Congress often don't even reside in the chamber until the vote alarm rings, and many take their time in the hallways or in their office before moseying on down to vote. It would be wildly impossible for McNulty to just stop voting while those said "seven members" were in the middle of using the voting machines. My guess is those seven arrived in the room late and began protesting that they still had time.

    August 3, 2007 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  12. Sydney, LA, CA

    GREAT...We have bridges collapsing and the liberals want to use our money to pay for housing and employment of illegal immigrants instead of actually using or money for our citizens and country. We have officially entered the twilight zone. Too bad people aren't still hung in this country for treason.

    August 3, 2007 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  13. Lois, Fresno, California

    So, the Democrats have shown us their true nature. They too are liars, cheats and sneaks more interested in lining their contributors pockets than they are in listening to the electorate.

    August 3, 2007 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  14. xinoph

    This is how Democrats run the House – they steal votes and lie about it.

    August 3, 2007 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  15. Fred, Ruskin Florida

    As Americans we should start taking back what belongs to us, namely the Government. The people of the House that we voted for, obviously think that we are stupid. We ask for better borders and laws on illegals coming into our country, instead we get no borders, welcome them with open arms and give away free medical and money...and they pay NO TAXES!!! They can then live off of our systems that we as taxpayers support! I am a truckdriver with a family of four, and I can barely support them, yet we as legal Americans, DO NOT qualify for any of the aid that OUR taxes pay for! Can you see anything wrong with this picture? Let me know if you do.
    Maybe it's time that we organize and take back our country. Maybe we should march on Washington like they did in the 60's. Maybe, just maybe, that would get our government's attention.

    August 3, 2007 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  16. Sharon, Ft. Worth, Texas

    I am outraged over the Democratic House members who just played dirty and gave my tax dollars once again to the illegals with this manipulation of votes!!! Nancy Peolsi and her fellow Dems are shameful!

    This furthers the Dems agenda to give priority to the illegals in this country over our American citizens!! OUr tax dollars will be spent on the anchors who haven't earned the right to have anything in our country.

    What about the American citizen? What about our seniors? What about our indigent? How about it, Dems? Who will take care of us? When will you start thinking about the American tax payer who is paying your salaries and benefits when we citizens are going without healthcare or the benefits you so eagerly give to the illegals?

    I thought there was supposed to be a procedure in the House to make decisions spending the tax payers money. Why are the Dems allowed to manipulate the procedures to benefit those very people the AMerican tax payers no longer will tolerate supporting?

    Shameful Congress. You will all be voted out and be replaced with someone who cares about the American constituents who will elect the new Congress.

    August 3, 2007 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  17. Shannon, Austin, TX

    Providing supplements to illegal immigrants is just like giving a supplement to those who illegally employ them. It's not a 'kind hearted' move, but rather one that ensures employers a pool of low-cost labor that is subsidized by the taxpayers. Just one more thing to spend our money on – we don't have the money for our schools or infrastructure – but we can cough it up for sport stadiums (given to privately owned teams, by the way), foreign aid, non-bid military contracts and pork for local pet-projects (of dubious value). These are things that both parties are guilty of accommodating.

    But, I do laugh that the Republicans are raising such a stink as they did the exact same thing with the Medicare Drug bill and the stonewalling on Gonzales (as well as the other political maneuvering of this administration). If the tables were turned, they'd be singing the same turn as the Democrats and claim that it was a mistake.

    However, dear Americans, Democrat or Republican, we can be certain that the interest they hold are not ours, but rather to the special interest group that funds their coffers. Just shut-up and pay the bill.

    August 3, 2007 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  18. Roy, Saline, MI

    Brilliantly stated by Rusty Wade below. Very well written and thoughtful editorial. Thank you for your post!

    August 4, 2007 12:09 am at 12:09 am |
  19. Patricia Victorville, California

    Hey! I have an idea!
    Instead of paying illegal immigrants to risk their lives to come here and pick grapes why not hand those hard jobs that nobody wants over to the prison and justice system and let the inmates who are not mentally ill earn their keep.
    I am sure that there are many different programs out there who could use those jobs to benefit legal US citizens at a fair price.
    I do not work 40 plus hours per week so an illegal immigrant can benefit from my hard earned dollars.
    It is also unconscionable to me to even think that money was taken from elderly US citizens and given to programs that benefit criminals.
    If you do something illegal then you have committed a crime.
    Illegal immigrants seem to be getting treated better than a lot of legal US citizens are nowadays.
    What's next? Should US citizens start jumping across the border into Mexico so they can sneak back into the US and finally get the compassion they are so deserving of?
    Hey Granny get back here I was just kidding! hmmm...or was I?

    August 4, 2007 05:21 am at 5:21 am |
  20. Lawrence / Montclair, NJ

    I certainly don't condone what apparently happened with the House vote, but I have to say that I'm absolutely disgusted with the hypocrisy of the Republicans. They are whining over this vote as if it's the end of the world, but have conveniently forgotten all about "hanging chads" and how large groups of Democratic voters were disenfranchised in Florida in 2000, putting their Republican candidate into the White House. It's not a question of "turnabout is fair play" – but at the same time, who do they think they're kidding?

    August 4, 2007 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  21. L Bourber, Pittsburgh, PA

    Most ethical congress. Not only is this a do nothing but useless investigations Congress, but now the Democrats are commiting voting fraud in Congress. They have plenty of experience of voter fraud at the polling places.

    And CNN dutifully hides the story for the Democrats. We know what you are up to.

    August 4, 2007 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  22. Jonathan, Starkville, MS

    Thank you Rusty Wade, I Completely agree. It is not the government's place to interfere with the market beyond basic quality control, and certainly not it's place to take taxpayer's money and give it to workers coming into this great country by illegal means. Both farmers and consumers need to wake up and realize that using illegal workers is not only a crime, but that it degrades both our agriculture industry and our tax system. (along with our health, education, prison, and housing facilities, and our border security)

    August 4, 2007 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  23. Bob, Zolfo Springs, FL



    August 5, 2007 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  24. Bob, Zolfo Springs, FL

    This is a letter I wrote to my Congressman. I believe we should all write and make our feelings known... for or against.

    "My wife and I make choices each day about what we have to give up to be able to pay the medical costs that our insurance doesn't cover.

    We also work hard to change the things we feel are wrong by making our opinions known to you and our Senators. We follow a process.

    So, imagine our shock and disgust at the mess we saw on Lou Dobbs Friday night. My God,... our elected officials acting like drunken judges at a wet t-shirt contest. And then to find out that you won't take the steps to fix it.
    I know you voted not to extend benefits to the criminals politically referred to as "illegal aliens". Thank you for that.

    Let me make our position clear. We live in Hardee County which I believe is more that 60% Hispanic and probably 80% of that is ILLEGAL.
    To all the Hispanics and for that matter anyone who has immigrated to this county LEGALLY... welcome to the red white and blue rat race.

    To all the rest of you that have broken the law to get here... get your stuff and GO HOME. I don't care if you have been here 20 yrs... have five kids, a business and a house. It is ill gotten gains. Drug dealers have their assets seized are sent to jail. We could be more understanding and give them 1 year to settle their affairs before they leave.

    Thank you again but please remember... there is no room for legislators that want to give away our heritage."

    August 5, 2007 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |