Drama erupts on House floor as conservative budget goes down

House lawmakers defeated a proposal by conservative Republicans to make deeper cuts to spending and tax rates than those proposed in the Republican budget, but only after last-minute maneuvering by Democrats on the House floor. 

In a chaotic scene filled with shouting more typical of that which takes place in the British Parliament, the Republican Study Committee's (RSC) alternative to Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-Wis.) 2012 budget went down in a 119-136 vote. 

It was gaveled shut only after Democratic leaders started pushing members to switch their "no" votes to "present," in order to force a face-off between conservatives and the Republican leadership. A total of 176 lawmakers voted "present."

ADVERTISEMENT
House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said on Twitter:

Dems voting present on RSC budget to highlight GOP divisions, plans to end Medicare - which bdgt does GOP support? Ryan or Ryan on steroids?

Hoyer and Ryan could both be observed yelling on the House floor, with Hoyer shouting to his members to vote present and Ryan shouting for the vote to be gaveled closed. 

Members of the Republican leadership flipped their votes in the closing moments of the proposal to help fell the proposal. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) switched her vote from yes to no at the last minute, as did Rep. David Dreier (R-Calif.), the chairman of the House Rules Committee. 

There was last-minute drama in the vote over the conservative proposal, as a number of liberal Democrats flipped their votes from "no" to "present." Lawmakers loudly protested as Republicans tried to gavel the vote shut before more votes could be switched.