For the past few days we hate talked about openly gay US House Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney who finally succeeded in pushing through an amendment that would put President Obama’s executive order on federal contractors into law. Last night Democrats in the House overwhelming voted against the bill helping to defeat it
Most Democrats voted against the bill due to its spending levels and policy riders. Taken together with Republicans who opposed the LGBT measure, the legislation didn’t have enough votes to pass Thursday.
It failed 112-305, with 130 Republicans — more than half of the House GOP caucus — joining all but six Democrats to sink the Energy Department spending bill.
House GOP leaders could still try to bring spending bills to the floor. But they may start considering them under a more limited process that prevents lawmakers in either party from offering unlimited amendments.
Asked whether the House can pass more spending bills this year, Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) said, “I think so, yeah,” adding that ending the open amendment process would “be considered.” “We’ll adapt to the circumstances and move on,” he said.
The bill’s failure Thursday marks the second time in two weeks lawmakers have waged a very public fight on the House floor over protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
There you go. Dysfunctional politics in action at its best.
After a strong pushback by Democrats the GOP controlled House of Representatives reversed itself late Wednesday and approved a measure aimed at upholding an executive order that bars discrimination against LGBT employees by federal contractors.
More than 40 Republicans helped Democrats power the gay rights measure over the opposition of GOP conservatives who dominate the chamber.
Conservatives did prevail in a separate vote designed to make sure federal funding isn’t taken away from the state of North Carolina over its controversial bathroom law for transgender people.
Wednesday night’s 223-195 tally reverses a vote last week on the gay rights measure. Then, GOP leaders twisted arms to defeat the legislation, causing several supporters to switch their vote, leading Democrats to erupt in protest.
Openly gay and fierce LGBT advocate New York Democrat Sean Patrick Maloney returned to attach the measure to a funding bill for the Energy Department.
This time, GOP leaders let members vote as they wished; about a dozen Republicans, including several from California, rethought their opposition and Maloney’s amendment made it through fairly easily.
It would prohibit agencies funded by the bill to award taxpayer dollars to federal contractors that violate President Barack Obama’s executive order barring discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
“It says you do not take taxpayer dollars and fire people just for being gay,” Maloney said.
Maloney said last week’s vote “snatched discrimination from the jaws of equality.”
Earlier, the House voted 227-192 to block several federal agencies from retaliating against North Carolina over its law requiring transgender people to use the bathroom of their original sex.
That amendment, by Robert Pittenger, R-N.C., came in response to warnings from the Obama administration that it may take federal funding away from North Carolina in response to the state law that blocks certain protections for gay people.
“The President and his emissaries have stated … that funds should not be dispensed to North Carolina until North Carolina is coerced into complying with the legal beliefs of the President, and his political views,” Pittenger said. “This is an egregious abuse of executive power.”
The North Carolina law was passed after Charlotte passed an ordinance allowing transgender people to use restrooms of their chosen gender identity. The state law went further to take away federal protections for gays, putting the state at risk of losing a variety of federal funds.
Top House Democrat Nancy Pelosi of California blasted Republicans as favoring discrimination against gays.
“Republicans overwhelmingly voted to support … the hateful and discriminatory state law in North Carolina, and to enable anti-LGBT bigotry across our country,” Pelosi said in a statement. “History will not look kindly on the votes Republicans proudly took to target Americans because of whom they are or whom they love.”
Bisexual Arizona Rep. Kyrsten Sinema and gay New York Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, both Democrats, voted with House GOP to shut down the government and are being taken to task (and rightfully so) over their decisions.
“Since taking office, Sinema has voted with the GOP against economic justice issues that progressives, including LGBT activists, view as crucial. Both she and U.S. Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.), an openly gay former Clinton aide, also elected for the first time in 2012, have voted with big banks and Wall Street time and again. Right out of the gate, Maloney, who took a lot of Wall Street money, voted with the GOP on the debt ceiling early this year, and actually co-sponsored a bill that would roll back reforms of the very Wall Street practices that led to the economic collapse. He even voted with the GOP to take authority over the Keystone XL project from the president. Like Sinema, he also voted to jeopardize Obamacare or shut down the government. And he too was supported in his election campaign by the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, the Human Rights Campaign, and other gay and progressive groups, touted as a progressive.
Think about this: On what is arguably the most important debate in Congress, two of nine Democrats who voted with the tea party-led blackmailers are openly gay or bisexual. Two of only five openly gay or bisexual members of the House voted with the extreme far right to undermine the president. Veteran recording industry executive Howie Klein, the founder of the progressive Blue America PAC and an openly gay man himself, has been criticizing both of them for their votes for months. He told me that Sinema had been calling him throughout last year’s campaign, looking for money. He’d known her and liked her, having served with her on the board of People for the American Way, but he told me that when he had her fully vetted, he was “horrified” by her record. Blue America is now actively recruiting a candidate to run in the Democratic primary against Sinema.
Some say it’s better to have Democrats like Sinema and Maloney than to possibly have a Republican in the seat. If it means they have to vote with the GOP, especially if the vote isn’t pivotal, then so be it, the thinking goes. But that breeds the most cynical kind of politics and drives people away from participating when we need to bring them in.”
This is what happens when the Gay and Lesbian Victory fund backs candidates just because they are LGBT and not because of their issues at large.