After House Republicans successfully added a provision targeting LGBT workers for discrimination to the must-pass defense funding bill Wednesday night, they used a shifty procedural move on the House floor Thursday to make certain the provision would not be stripped out. The anti-LGBT measure would allow federal contractors to fire workers simply because they are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender—an attempt to roll back protections that President Obama extended to LGBT employees of federal contractors via executive order in 2014.
When Democratic Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney offered an amendment Thursday morning to strike the anti-LGBT language from the National Defense Authorization Act, the vote tally originally showed the effort succeeding, 217 to 206, including support from 35 Republican members. But moments later, seven GOP votes switched, which left the amendment one vote short of succeeding. Jennifer Bendery has the screen grab:
Democratic members immediately started shouting, “Shame! Shame! Shame!” and shortly thereafter Minority Whip Steny Hoyer took to the House floor to disparage the GOP’s move to “switch votes so that discrimination could prevail.”
“217 people stood up and said, We ought not to discriminate. And then,” he said, “the leadership on the Republican side started its activity … and they reached out to people to said, no, let us be able to discriminate. Let contractors be able to discriminate. And Mr. Speaker, seven people who had voted not to allow discrimination decided perhaps that principle was not as important as they had thought just a minute or so before.”