A pair of House conservatives gummed up the chamber’s business with forced procedural votes on Wednesday in an effort to bring attention to congressional inaction on the ongoing border crisis.
As the House was gearing up to begin debate on a major appropriations package Wednesday afternoon, House Freedom Caucus members Chip Roy, R-Texas, and Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., forced the House into procedural votes over motions to adjourn, slowing things down in both floor action and committee business.
In a speech from the House floor, Roy criticized House Democrats for ignoring administration funding requests to deal with the border crisis as well as Congress’ failure to fix the policies that cause the current situation.
“As we speak today, a little girl and her mom will be abused on the journey through Mexico, while this country, the most powerful nation in the history of the world, buries its head in the sand,” Roy said. “This is a tragedy, and it is unconscionable that this body will not address it.”
Roy then motioned for the House to adjourn and requested a roll call vote, forcing the chamber to stop what it was doing and allow members to vote.
At the beginning of May, the DHS sent a letter to Congress formally requesting $4.5 billion in emergency funding for the border crisis. Illegal immigration trends that have brought more children and family units over the border have “have stressed a system mainly designed for single adults,” the administration’s letter explains. The request does not include funding for a border wall. Congress still hasn’t acted on that request.
“The truth to anyone being honest with themselves is there is a problem, a humanitarian problem,” reads a statement from Roy’s office sent to Blaze Media. “It is far past time this body addressed it.”
When the first adjournment vote failed, Biggs took to the floor to similarly call out Congress’ failure to fix the border crisis and also made a motion to adjourn, forcing another floor vote.
“I am going to make a motion to adjourn because our colleagues refuse to bring a supplement that would pay for humanitarian detention facilities,” Biggs said. “I move to adjourn.”
That vote also failed. But the point here wasn’t to adjourn the House; it was to gum up the works. And it did for a moment, as members elsewhere on Capitol Hill had to leave committee meetings and hearings to come vote.
“The committee room for our hearing on giving health care coverage to every American just emptied out because House Republicans used a procedural maneuver to try to adjourn the House — in the middle of a Wednesday — over demands to fund Trump’s vanity wall,” griped Rep. Don Beyer, D-Va.
The House Armed Services Committee also had to briefly recess while marking up the annual National Defense Authorization Act.
Later, during structured floor debate on the spending bill, a long line of Republicans came to the floor to request unanimous consent to consider a bill addressing the president’s border request. Those requests were denied, due to procedural rules.