House conservative's procedural protest met with bipartisan gripes

Rep. Chip RoyCharles (Chip) Eugene RoyDemocrats seek wave to bolster House majority Texas Republicans sound post-2020 alarm bells The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - Smart or senseless for Biden to spend time in Georgia, Iowa? MORE’s (R-Texas) procedural moves Wednesday aimed at drawing attention to humanitarian border aid and trying to force a vote on $4.5 billion in supplemental funding drew the ire of Democrats and many of his GOP colleagues.

The Texas Republican kicked off the House Freedom Caucus’s efforts to highlight the aid by calling for a "motion to vacate" on Wednesday morning. After the move failed, Roy turned to other procedural options to drive his point home — including demanding roll call votes on every amendment for the appropriations bill.

That move, which required lawmakers to go on the record about each of the bill's 106 amendments, drew backlash from both Democrats and Republicans after the gambit led to a Wednesday night vote series that stretched into the early morning hours of Thursday.


"People were flying into town, so it is difficult to kind of rally the troops [on the motion to vacate]. And then after that, we said, OK, well, the time is now while these amendments are coming forth to make it as painful as possible for Pelosi and House Dems and force them to put the supplemental on the floor,” a senior GOP aide told The Hill, referring to Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOn The Money: McConnell says Congress will take up stimulus package at start of 2021 | Lawmakers see better prospects for COVID deal after election Overnight Health Care: House Dem report blasts Trump coronavirus response | Regeneron halts trial of antibody drug in sickest hospitalized patients | McConnell says Congress will take up stimulus package at start of 2021 McConnell says Congress will take up stimulus package at start of 2021 MORE (D-Calif.).

A source familiar with Roy's thinking said the Texas conservative laid out his formal request for a $4.5 billion border supplemental on Tuesday evening after spending roughly 48 hours discussing their demands, which include asylum reforms and changes to the Flores Agreement.

The Flores Agreement contains basic principles for immigration detention, including temporal limitations on detention of minors.

"Earlier this week, we were looking at amendments and putting some forth and were kind of trying to figure out exactly how we could move the needle at all on the border. We looked at the newest figures, 144,000 coming across a month, we were like, alright, this is ridiculous," a GOP aide told The Hill.

"So sometimes in general, it's our thing, particularly being a freshman member of Congress, that you have to be a cog in the wheel to actually get this body to be serious about anything."

While Roy and other members of the Freedom Caucus continued their call for roll call votes after the House gaveled back on Thursday morning, Democratic leadership appeared unmoved by their push.

Walking into the 10:30 p.m. vote series Wednesday evening, House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerDemocrats seek wave to bolster House majority Hoyer lays out ambitious Democratic agenda for 2021, with health care at top Top Democrats introduce resolution calling for mask mandate, testing program in Senate MORE (D-Md.) joked with Rep. Phil RoeDavid (Phil) Phillip RoeDiana Harshbarger wins GOP primary to replace Rep. Phil Roe We need to focus on veterans in need of service dogs Overnight Defense: Trump plan to pull troops from Germany gets bipartisan pushback | Top GOP senator says it's time to look at changing Confederate-named bases | GOP divided over renaming Army bases MORE (R-Tenn.), who is a physician, saying, “Doctor, give that guy a sedative, won’t you?”

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee quickly pounced on Roy, one of its top targets for the 2020 election cycle, for his actions on the floor.

“After voting for higher taxes on Gold Star families and blocking billions in disaster relief funds for struggling Texas families, Congressman Roy is embarrassing himself and his community once again by grandstanding and delaying funding for our armed services and other vital national priorities,” the House Democrats’ campaign arm said in a statement.

“It’s clear Congressman Roy is more concerned with partisan showboating and causing gridlock than actually doing his job — and that makes him the ultimate swamp creature.”

Roy’s ploy to make life as difficult as possible for Democrats also began to wear on a number of his Republican colleagues, who voiced their belief there were more productive tactics to accomplishing legislative goals.  

"I just think that there's a way to go about making the statement without inconveniencing 434 of your colleagues and all the people that work for them simply so you can make a statement to me is not what I would call teamwork,” Rep. John KatkoJohn Michael KatkoWarren, Porter to headline progressive fundraiser supporting seven swing state candidates Trump fuels and frustrates COVID-19 relief talks Trump says talks on COVID-19 aid are now 'working out' MORE (R-N.Y.) told The Hill on Thursday.

Others went as far as accusing him of political grandstanding.

“F--- no. I could not find a juice box and fruit roll up for him so I got him some muscle milk and a granola bar and delivered it to him,” one senior Republican member told The Hill in a text when asked if he agreed with the move just before midnight on Wednesday.

Rep. Thomas MassieThomas Harold MassieHouse in near-unanimous vote affirms peaceful transfer of power Ron Paul hospitalized in Texas GOP lawmaker praises Kyle Rittenhouse's 'restraint' for not emptying magazine during shooting MORE (R-Ky.), a fellow conservative and supporter of the procedural maneuver, tweeted Roy was “catching hell from colleagues.”

.@chiproytx is catching hell from colleagues right now for requesting recorded votes on amendments and forcing transparency. Heard on the floor: ‘Just exactly what do you think this will accomplish?’ ‘Are we getting paid overtime?; ‘I’m missing my fundraiser for this.’ #swamp,” he said on the social media platform.

House Minority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseOvernight Health Care: House Dem report blasts Trump coronavirus response | Regeneron halts trial of antibody drug in sickest hospitalized patients | McConnell says Congress will take up stimulus package at start of 2021 Democrats call Trump's COVID-19 response 'among the worst failures of leadership in American history' House Republicans slated to hold leadership election on Nov. 17 MORE (R-La.) also said he understands the sentiment behind it, saying he agrees the bill should be brought to the floor.

“The fact remains that this decision is being raised because Speaker Pelosi will not address the crisis at the border, especially dealing with young kids not being able to get basic health care needs that Speaker Pelosi won't address,” he told reporters Thursday. “So one simple solution is just bring a bill to fund this immediate need that everybody agrees has to be done.” 

Sources said Roy has no plans on letting up until he sees a vote despite the pushback.

"We're making very clear what our demands are, and until those are met we will continue fighting for them," a Roy aide told The Hill.