Less than two hours before shutting down the government, House Republicans created a special rule to prevent Democrats from reopening the government. The House’s normal rules provide that “[w]hen the stage of disagreement has been reached on a bill or resolution with House or Senate amendments, a motion to dispose of any amendment shall be privileged” — a provision that House Democrats believe would have enabled any member of the House to force a vote on a bill to fund the government that had already passed the Senate. Yet, as Dylan Scott reports, the Republican caucus thwarted the maneuver by enacting a special rule preventing this vote from taking place.
Under this special rule, such an attempt to fund the government “may be offered only by the majority Leader or his designee.” Thus, with a shutdown looming, the power to allow a vote that would likely have prevented the government from closing was left in Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s (R-VA) hands. Cantor, of course, chose not to exercise that power.