|All in favor of the amended Springfield-slash-pervert bill?|
So the House Democrats were on their way to passing a science jobs and education bill (a re-authorization of a 2007 law, apparently). Clearly an effort to stem the United States' slippage in math and science education was a political victory that the GOP couldn't allow. But without a filibuster, what's a minority party in a lower legislative body to do? Force the majority to vote for or against something that generates sexy soundbites in an election year.
In this case, the Republican ranking member of the science committee made a motion to recommit the bill. This would have sent the bill back into his committee, delaying it for another round. The specific motion added language to the bill requiring the federal government not to pay the salary of any employee officially reprimanded for looking at porn at work. Which is all well and good, but gave the Dems two options:
- Vote for the motion, which would delay the measure in another round of committee work (note that the science committee passed the bill 29-8, including GOP "ayes")
- Vote against the motion, which allows the bill to be voted upon, but lets GOP candidates cut ads about how "Representative Walz voted in support of people looking at porn at work."
It's generally bad policy to bet against Democrats buckling like a belt, so of course half the caucus caved in and voted for. I hope all those Representatives with struggling high schools and high-tech research or industry in their districts are proud. The roll-call is here. Kudos to retiring Rep. Vernon Ehlers, PhD (nuclear Physics, Berkeley) (R-MI) for bucking his party on this one.
Please note that 15 years ago, The Simpsons presented such a situation as satire (see Act Three).