In September, the Orlando Sentinel reported that Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) had noticed Republicans House lawmakers intentionally forgetting or losing their voting cards in order to delay votes. Starting late in the summer, Grayson said he saw 60-70 GOP congressmen engaging in this tactic:
GRAYSON: They’d all walk to the front of the House and, laughingly and jokingly, put their arms around each other’s shoulder like it was some kind of clownish fun. And they did this over and over to make sure every vote took half an hour. That’s how low things have gotten. I could give you countless examples just like that. They’re simply obstructionists and there’s nothing you can do about it.
Yesterday at the Center for American Progress Action Fund, Majority Leader Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD) delivered an address on unprecedented minority obstruction of reform. ThinkProgress spoke to him afterwards, and the Majority Leader confirmed that even the House parliamentarian had criticized Republicans for this very tactic. Hoyer admonished what he called “such a transparent effort at solely delay”:
HOYER: Well we’ve seen a couple of instances of that. Not so much forgetting their cards, but not using their cards and voting by the cards that are available at the desk. You have to write in and stand in a long line. And very frankly, the parliamentarian himself criticized that as delaying tactics which are not countenance by the rules. Obviously, every member has the right to vote. I thought they were unfortunate because it was such a transparent effort at solely delay as supposed to giving opportunity, fair opportunity to voting to every member.
All year, Republicans have dedicated themselves to reflexively blocking progressive legislation rather than even attempting to participate in the legislative process. The examples are boundless:
— In July, Minority Leader Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) forced the House clerk to read aloud a 55-page motion to recommitt in order for House Republicans to attend a “2009 Boehner Beach Party” fundraiser.
— Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) attempted to block the veterans’ benefits bill because of unrelated concerns with the Recovery Act.
— Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH) went so far as authoring a memo on various parliamentary maneuvers Senate Republicans can use to delay and kill health reform in the Senate.
The voting card delaying may be the least mature of all obstruction measures, however.