Floor Drama: Boehner Embarrassment As House Nearly Kills Omnibus On Procedural Vote


The final vote on Speaker John Boehner’s 1,603-page, more than $1 trillion omnibus spending bill is in jeopardy after members almost killed the bill on the rule. A total of 214 members voted for it, less than the majority of members in the House, but since all members weren’t voting, the 212 against the rule wasn’t enough to kill it.

Time for voting had run out minutes before, and briefly the nays—those against the rule—had the majority. At least one Republican had switched a vote from being against the rule to for it, at which time the presiding officer used procedural chicanery to quickly call the vote passed.

Republican Reps. Justin Amash (R-MI), Michele Bachmann (R-MN), Dave Brat (R-VA), Mo Brooks (R-AL), Paul Broun (R-GA), Louie Gohmert (R-TX), Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Tim Huelskamp (R-KS), Walter Jones (R-NC), Jim Jordan (R-OH), Steve King (R-IA), Raul Labrador (R-ID), Tom Massie (R-KY), Bill Posey (R-FL), Matt Salmon (R-AZ) and Steve Stockman (R-TX) held the line and voted no. Rep. Kerry Bentivolio (R-MI) switched his vote from nay to yay at the last minute.

If the numbers that are being reported—50 to 60, maybe more—of Republicans hold on against the final passage of the bill later in the day, and all the Democrats who opposed the rule oppose the bill, the bill would fail on final passage. It remains to be seen what will happen.

The mere closeness of the vote on the rule—normally a purely procedural matter, but necessary to bring the full bill to the floor of the House—is an embarrassment to House Republican leadership, who had been triumphantly claiming for hours on Thursday they had no worries about it at all.

If the Boehner omnibus is killed for good later in the day, congressional leadership is planning to change tack and move forward with a three-month stopgap spending bill, or a clean Continuing Resolution.