The PJ Tatler

Why Did GOP Rep. Pete Sessions Refuse to Allow a Vote on the Mulvaney Amendment?

The Mulvaney Amendment, brought by Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-SC) to the House’s Cromnibus spending bill, would defund the president’s executive action on immigration. The amendment did not even make it out of the House Rules Committee yesterday. Why?

By the way, the GOP controls the Rules Committee, in case you might think the Democrats stopped the amendment from being considered. They didn’t.

Here is a brief explanation of the convoluted rules process in the House of Representatives.

Every bill goes to the Rules Committee, which determines what the rules for voting will be when or if a bill to goes to the House floor for consideration. (The Senate’s rules are fixed, so they do not go through this process for every bill like the House does.) The committee can decide all kinds of details like if there will be any amendments allowed to the bill.

Last night, the Rules Committee met to decide how to handle the Cromnibus and its amendments. You can see all the amendments filed here; there were 21. Here is a list of GOP congressmen who supported the Mulvaney Amendment:

Mulvaney (SC), Huelskamp (KS), Schweikert (AZ), DeSantis (FL), Duncan (SC), Massie (KY), Jordan (OH), Labrador (ID), Cotton (AR), Bentivolio, (MI), Poe (TX), Bridenstine (OK), Weber (TX), Stockman (TX), Fleming (LA), Lamborn (CO), LaMalfa (CA), Yoho (FL), Palazzo (MS), Amash (MI), Perry (PA), Broun (GA), Griffith (VA), Ellmers (NC), Clawson (FL), Flores (TX), Neugebauer (TX), Gosar (AZ), Posey (FL), Cassidy (LA), Garrett (NJ), Sanford (SC), Brooks (AL), Barletta (PA), Ribble (WI), Wittman (VA), DesJarlais (TN), Rice (SC), Bachmann (MN), Jones (NC), Black (TN), Duncan (TN), Blackburn (TN), Hurt (VA), Graves, Tom (GA), Hunter (CA), Rothfus (PA), Forbes (VA), Stutzman (IN), Southerland (FL), Miller, Jeff (FL), Franks (AZ), Wilson, Joe (SC), Brat (VA), Salmon, (AZ), McClintock (CA), Bilirakis (FL), Marino (PA), Boustany (LA), Kelly (PA), Smith, Jason (MO), Scott, Austin (GA), Farenthold (TX), Barton (TX), Harris (MD), Hudson (NC), Hultgren (IL)

The GOP-led committee decided the Cromnibus rule is to be a closed rule, meaning there will be no amendments allowed at all. Therefore, the Cromnibus will head to the floor without any amendments.

However, there was an amendment that was voted on during the Rules Committee — it was the “bi-partisan” bill that addresses pension reform called the Kline-Miller Amendment. The Rules Committee website reads that this amendment is “considered as adopted.”  How did that happen if there is to be a closed rule on the Cromnibus bill? Well, the committee decided that the bi-partisan amendment they accepted would actually become part of the Cromnibus and not receive a separate vote as if it were an amendment. Yes, the Rules Committee can do that. Why didn’t the Rules Committee do that for the Mulvaney Amendment? Why didn’t the Rules Committee at least let the amendment get an up or down vote on the floor? Good question!

It sure seems this entire rules process led by GOP Rep. Pete Sessions is rigged to allow only the amendments the leadership wants.