C-SPAN viewers who tuned in to watch the late-running House votes at around 6:30 p.m. were treated to an odd sight. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) insisted that the clerk read an unusually long 55-page motion to recommit aloud — a process that took an excruciating 40 minutes, halting House business.
Squirmy Democrats began wondering what was going on. Soon an aide pulled up a blog post reporting that Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) had scheduled a 6 p.m. "Beach Party" fundraiser — at $250-$5,000 a head — at DC’s waterfront Cantina Marina.
At around 7:10 p.m., sheepish Republicans pulled the motion and submitted a new one, which took about five minutes to read. Votes quickly resumed.
Rep. Tom Latham was apologetic, saying," I want to wish the Members a good evening. I’m sorry about the delay here… "
Appropriations Chairman David Obey would have none of it:
"I simply think that we are entitled to ask one question," he thundered. "Why on earth, if we are supposed to take this motion seriously, were we required to listen through the reading of a 55-page amendment, witness it being withdrawn and then have them introduce an amendment which is virtually the same in an identical form? I think that speaks for itself!"
Boehner spokesman said the slowdown was a protest — and not cover for Boehner’s party: "We forced the reading of the MTR to protest the un-democratic rules the Democratic Leadership is insisting on for the appropriations process, which do not allow Republicans the opportunity to step in the way of their out-of-control spending spree."