When is stopping carbon monoxide poisoning and protecting Saudi dissidents controversial? When you’re a Republican in the House, sometimes

What do the bills have in common to help state and tribal governments distribute carbon monoxide detectors, to reauthorize the agency that tests Olympians for steroids, and to protect dissidents in Saudi Arabia? limiting the sale of weapons? Each of them passed the House of Representatives by overwhelming bipartisan margins in recent weeks. And, in each case, all “no” votes were provided solely by House Republicans.

House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy defended the “no” vote in his weekly press conference with reporters Thursday. “I don’t see any problem. A bill could have a really nice name, but if you ever read a bill itself and give all the power to the Democrats, I think there will be a lot of ‘no’ votes, “he said. The Carbon Monoxide Detector Grants Bill, sponsored by Democratic Rep. Ann McLane Kuster, was named the “Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Prevention Act in Memory of Nicholas and Zachary Burt,” after two young children. , a 16-month-old and a four-year-old. who died from a faulty oven in 1996 in a home without a detector. It was also a run-of-the-mill “suspension bill,” so named because it was introduced under the suspension of House rules, allowing quick passage by voice vote or, rarely until recently, a vote. nominal in which You must get two-thirds of the House to pass. The carbon monoxide detector bill got 362 votes, well above the 290 needed. He also saw 49 “no” votes, all from the Republican side of the aisle. The Anti-Doping Agency reauthorization bill received 37 “no” votes and the “Protection of Saudi Dissidents Act” received 71 “no” votes. Again, all Republicans. The suspension bills are intended to be modest, bipartisan, and uncontroversial. That is why they are used as a kind of legislative filler for the House calendar. They fill in the time between the most important bills being considered and allow members to show off in the press releases they sponsored or voted for them. If you could vote on puppies and kittens, it would be under suspension. But in recent weeks, Republicans have forced Democrats to suspend votes, requiring roll call votes, which are time consuming due to COVID-19 precautions. At the same time, the number of Republicans who vote against the bills on average is many times greater than the number of Democrats who vote. By 19 votes under suspension of the rules in the House in April, an average of 24 Republicans, just over a tenth of the entire party conference, voted “no,” compared to an average of less than a Democrat. On those 19 votes, Republicans voted “no” 458 times, compared to 14 “no” votes for Democrats. In 15 of the 19 suspension votes, no Democrats voted against the bills. McCarthy said it is not unusual for there to be at least some “no” votes on suspensions. “In any suspension vote, there are always some who vote in favor and others who vote against,” McCarthy said. “Sometimes it’s about financing. It’s too much money? Sometimes about something else. There is always a justification and a reason behind this, ”he said. Read more: Cannabis companies still don’t have access to banking; this congressman is trying to change that. Not all bills were pointless. A vote was on whether to again postpone cuts to Medicare service providers that had been delayed since the CARES Act’s coronavirus aid bill was enacted in March 2020. That prompted the Republican Party to provide all 38 votes. “not”. And a bill to help cannabis-related companies THCX, + 1.98% to gain access to the banking system got 101 “no” votes, again all Republicans. With COVID-19 precautions making voting on the House floor a time-consuming affair – the 430 members vote in groups of 87 to avoid crowds on the floor and some vote by proxy – Democrats were enraged to requests from House Republicans to vote on the floor on all suspension bills. The tactic has been pushed by the House Freedom Caucus, a group of conservative and libertarian House Republicans. “It is unfortunate that some Republican members are using obstruction tactics on the most bipartisan and uncontroversial bills. There are Democrats and Republicans who want to get things done, and we will work around those who don’t, “said Rep. Jim McGovern, chair of the House Rules Committee. Before the pandemic, the House could cast many votes in one day, using its electronic voting system to reduce voting times to five or even two minutes. But now, with each vote that takes about 30 minutes, voting on suspensions has sometimes meant voting late into the night on bills like the “Small Manufacturers Modernization and Improvement Act 504” (16 votes “no”, all Republicans) and the “Microloan Improvement Act” (also 16 “no” votes, also all Republicans). That led House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer to obtain a rule change that allowed the suspension bills will be voted up or down as a group, all at once, while sending them to the Senate for separate consideration. overwhelmingly, with 400 or more votes for almost all of them, which means they were essentially uncontroversial, ”Hoyer said. Representative Andy Biggs, president of the Freedom Caucus, lashed out at Hoyer’s action in an actual YouTube video. hoisted into the Capitol’s Statuary Hall with other members of the group, including Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Republican from Georgia. “The idea is that transparency tries to stop it while it tries to emasculate the freedoms of Americans. That’s what we’ve been doing and that’s what we’re going to continue to do, ”Arizona Republican Biggs said. McCarthy supported the group and their approach. “The controversy is whether a bill should be approved in the House by a simple voice vote. But if you are elected, should you vote on the bill? And that’s where people have different opinions, some within my conference, ”he said.