A House conservative went after dozens of fellow Republicans on Thursday with suggestions that they'd sinned for backing an anti-discrimination proposal against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.
Rep. Rick Allen, a Georgia freshman, launched the GOP's regular policy meeting in the Capitol basement by reading a Bible passage condemning homosexuality and suggesting that supporters of the LGBT provision, which passed the House the night before, were defying Christian tenets, attendees said.
Several Republicans walked out of the room in disgust.
"It was f---ing ridiculous," said one GOP lawmaker, who was in the room and supported the LGBT provision.
A GOP leadership aide offered a similar verdict.
"A lot of members were clearly uncomfortable and upset," the aide said.
Allen's office did not respond to a request for comment Thursday. A spokeswoman for House Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanNo time for the timid: The dual threats of progressives and Trump Juan Williams: Pelosi shows her power Cheney takes shot at Trump: 'I like Republican presidents who win re-election' MORE (R-Wis.) declined to comment.
The LGBT language has been a thorn in the side of Republican leaders this month as they've tried to move through a series of government spending bills.
Sponsored by Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.), the provision stipulates that nothing in the underlying spending bills can undermine President Obama's executive order barring discrimination by government contractors based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
Last week, the provision had won enough Republican support to pass as part of a military construction bill, but GOP leaders held the vote open and urged supporters to switch their votes. The strategy worked, and the measure failed 213-212. Twenty-nine Republicans voted in favor.
Maloney had better luck this week, when he offered his amendment as part of an energy spending bill. The measure passed late Wednesday night by a vote of 223 to 195, with 43 Republicans joining every Democrat in supporting the provision.
The victory was short-lived, however, as the amendment proved to be a poison pill that led scores of Republicans to oppose the underlying energy bill, which suffered a crushing 112-305 defeat on the floor Thursday. One hundred and thirty Republicans voted against the package, while just six Democrats supported it.
Republicans were quick to accuse Democrats of playing political games by insisting on the Maloney amendment and then opposing the broader bill after it was attached.
"This is not about LGBT rights. It's about shipwrecking the appropriations process," Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) said after Thursday's vote.
The Democrats have a different view, accusing the Republicans of promoting discrimination by insisting the Maloney language be excised.
"House Republicans' thirst to discriminate against the LGBT community is so strong that they are willing to vote down their own appropriations bill in order to prevent progress over bigotry," Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said.
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