Rep. Jackson Lee miffed at Rules Committee rejection

The Rules Committee was originally scheduled to meet Monday, Dec. 19, shortly after 7 p.m., and indicated it was going to approve a rule calling for a vote to concur with the Senate's payroll tax bill. But the meeting was pushed back more than two hours, as Republicans were still meeting about whether to skip a direct vote on the Senate's two-month payroll tax extension and fight for a yearlong extension.

The GOP ultimately decided that Rules would prepare a vote on whether to go to conference with the Senate, rather than a vote on agreeing to the Senate bill.

Jackson Lee said she was prepared to discuss amendments to the Senate-passed bill, but was surprised that Republicans decided not to consider the Senate bill directly.

"By 9:15 p.m. Rules began to address a completely different agenda which did not include the Motion to Concur with the Senate Amendment," she said. "I am askance by the Committee's failure to address this issue head on and rather choosing to bend to whatever pressures they received prior to meeting on the Senate amendment."

Jackson Lee waited out the entire Rules meeting, which lasted nearly two hours, after which Democrats asked if she could speak. But Rules Committee Chairman David Dreier (R-Calif.) rejected that request, and said Rules was not having an open hearing, but rather a meeting to approve a rule.

Rules ultimately debated the GOP plan to vote for a conference with the Senate, after enduring Democratic criticism for dodging an up-or-down vote on the Senate bill. By Thursday, House Republicans gave in, and agreed to accept the Senate bill with one minor modification.

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