WASHINGTON — The House floor dissolved into partisan yelling Thursday after multiple Republicans, including Rep. Greg Walden of Oregon, changed their votes on an amendment intended to protect the LGBT community from discrimination.
“Shame, shame, shame,” Democrats chanted.
The amendment — which was introduced by Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, D-N.Y. — would have prohibited companies from receiving federal contracts if they discriminate against gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender employees. It looked like it would pass until some of the representatives who had initially voted for it changed their votes from “yea” to “nay.”
Walden has not responded to a KGW request for comment.
Maloney said he didn’t know who all of the vote-switchers were, but identified Reps.
USA TODAY: House GOP leader thwarts LGBT measure
The Thursday amendment was intended to reverse a House vote Wednesday to overturn President Obama's executive order to protect LGBT workers.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., issued a statement accusing the GOP of "discriminating against LGBT Americans."
“House Republicans are so committed to discriminating against LGBT Americans, that they broke regular order to force their members to reverse their votes and support Republican bigotry,” Pelosi said in the statement. “Evidently Speaker Ryan’s promises of regular order mean nothing, when regular order means a majority of the House standing up to protect LGBT Americans from bigotry.”
And House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md., accused the lawmakers who changed their votes of a lack of courage for doing so behind the scenes in a statement.
"Not only did they vote against equality and inclusion, but those who switched their votes did not even have the courage to do so openly in the well of the House," he said in the statement. “But the action they hoped would slip quietly under the radar will instead surely be heard loudly and clearly across the nation as a rallying cry to all who cherish equality, justice, and civil rights."
House Speaker Paul Ryan's, R-Wis., spokeswoman AshLee Strong said that the choice was made to focus on veterans and troops over the amendment, which was part of a broad bill providing funding for veterans and military construction projects.
"Our veterans and troops were prioritized over a political messaging amendment that could have jeopardized the final passage of the appropriations bill," Strong said in a statement emailed to USA TODAY.