Friday, August 03, 2007


The Silent Gavel

It’s the age-old question: If a Democrat gavels a vote shut but the Democratic leadership didn’t want him to, did it make a legally binding sound?

Compare & Contrast:

“Democrats appeared to have won, but with seconds left, GOP leaders persuaded three Latino Republicans who had voted with the Democrats to change their votes. With two of the votes changed, Democrats gaveled the vote shut, 214-214, and declared they had won the motion. But the clerk had already recorded the third vote switch, and the public tally gave the GOP the win though Democrats said the gavel had already come down.” Version One

“Two Democrats changed their votes to ensure that the measure would fail, but then three Republicans did the same. The vote total was 215-213 in favor of the Republican motion to recommit. At that moment, Rep. Mike McNulty ( D-N.Y.), who was in the Speaker's chair, gavelled out the vote, thinking that it was a tie and the motion had failed. But he had miscounted — the motion had actually passed. The Democrats were only able to change this by cheating and changing more votes after the gavel.” Version Two

The first is the Washington Post version; the second comes from The Corner at NRO.

One question; if the gavel had already come down on a tie vote – as the Post reports the Democrats claim - how did the final, officially recorded tally end up at 212-216? Final Vote Results for Roll Call 814

This could all just be chalked up to inside baseball stuff except for the issue at hand. The GOP was attempting to get an Agricultural funding bill recommitted so an addendum could be added explicitly forbidding illegals from receiving food stamps. Not sure I’d want to be on the side of going all out to ensure such a prohibition not be written into law.

By the way, anyone surprised to see Maryland’s own Wayne Gilchrest vote with the Democrats on this matter – even after the bulk of his party had left? Final Vote Results for Roll Call 816 (although, to be fair, he did vote with them on the recommit)

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