Seven Republicans Changed Their Votes to Defeat a Bill to Protect LGBT Workers After the Clock Had Already Run Out
In one of the most cowardly and homophobic acts of Congress in recent years, top Republican House leadership colluded to ensure a bill to protect LGBT workers went down in flames. The bill, sponsored by freshman Democratic Rep.Â Sean Patrick Maloney of New York, would have nullified an amendment to the vital annual military sending bill. That measure, known as the Russell Amendment, passed, and would gut and nullify President Barack Obama's historic 2014 executive orders banning discrimination against LGBT employees of federal contractors.Â
The Russell Amendment passed with the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) Thursday night, but Friday morning Rep. Maloney offered his bill, which, when the clock ran out, had passed. But according to multiple reports, three top Republican leaders,Â Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California, Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana, and Chief Deputy Whip Patrick McHenry of North Carolina, conspired with each other and convinced seven Republican Congressmen to switch their votes. As the GOP is the party in power, they were able to keep the clock open until enough lawmakers had changed their votes from yea to nay, and the legislation was defeated.
Now, Democrats are determined to unseat the vote switchers. The seven who changed their votes are:Â
Jeff Denham (Calif.)
Darrell Issa (Calif.)
Bruce Poliquin (Maine)
David Valadao (Calif.)
Greg Walden (Ore.)
Mimi Walters (Calif.)
David Young (Iowa)
Of those seven, four are considered to be particularly vulnerable.
The Hill reports Reps.Â Young, Poliquin, Denham and Valadao (top photo, left to right) are now "among Democratsâ€™ biggest targets this election cycle."
Democrats will use the cowardly vote switching to target and unseat the four Republicans.Â
"An official for House Democratsâ€™ campaign arm, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), told The Hill that the vote is expected to become a major issue in a competitive race like Youngâ€™s"
Already, Democratic opponents of the four have exposed the Republicans' anti-LGBT vote switching.
â€œThis type of extreme partisanship is something we should expect from someone who has never held a job outside of Congress,â€ Democrat Jim Mowrer, running against Rep. Young,Â said in a statement. â€œThis is why we need new representation in Congress and why I believe so strongly in putting service to Iowans ahead of politics.â€Â
â€œCongressman Poliquin apparently has no moral compass on the issue of discrimination,â€ saidÂ Emily Cain, who is expected to run against Rep.Â Poliquin,Â in a statement. â€œBut whatâ€™s truly disappointing is that Congressman Poliquin didnâ€™t come clean with voters, but instead reversed himself in secret as part of a backroom deal with Republican leadership.â€Â
The Hill also notes local media took Rep.Â Poliquin to task for his vote switching.
â€œPoliquin takes flak for switching to vote against LGBT-rights provision,â€ blared a headline in the Bangor Daily News. â€œPoliquin among 7 House Republicans to switch votes, defeating gay rights protection,â€ read another in the Portland Press Herald.Â
On Twitter, some responses to the colluding, vote switching Republicans:
Predicting serious opposition by gay + decent people against reelection of Issa, Denham, Valadao, Walters, Walden, Poliquin & Young.â€” Margo Howard (@Margoandhow) May 20, 2016
7 GOPers who caved to anti-LGBT leaders: Issa, Denham,Walters & Valadao - CA; Walden - OR, Young - IA, Poliquin - ME https://t.co/ZUJx6jTNcBâ€” Joe Sudbay (@JoeSudbay) May 20, 2016
4 of the GOP reps who switched their vote to permit LGBT discrimination were Californians. They have names: Issa, Valadao, Denham, Waltersâ€” Peter Gleick (@PeterGleick) May 20, 2016
@DarrellIssa Just so everyone knows, Mr. Issa voted to allow for federal contractors to discriminate against LGBT! Retweet this!â€” Rory Vance (@rorymvance) May 19, 2016
Image compiled via Wikimedia