GOP fails to overcome procedural hurdle needed to bring resolution condemning Sanders to the floor

GOP fails to overcome procedural hurdle needed to bring resolution condemning Sanders to the floor
© Greg Nash

House Republicans on Thursday failed to overcome a procedural hurdle needed to bring to the floor a resolution condemning Democratic presidential front-runner Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Trump signs order removing environmental reviews for major projects | New Trump air rule will limit future pollution regulations, critics say | DNC climate group calls for larger federal investment on climate than Biden plan Google: Chinese and Iranian hackers targeting Biden, Trump campaigns Sanders: Police departments that violate civil rights should lose federal funding MORE’s (I-Vt.) positive remarks about Cuba under the late dictator Fidel Castro.

The vote on the previous question, which would have had to be defeated in order for the GOP to successfully amend the rule to immediately consider the measure, ultimately passed along party lines, 224-189.

The resolution — spearheaded by Rep. Mario Diaz-BalartMario Rafael Diaz-BalartHillicon Valley: Uber lays off 3,000 | FBI unlocks Pensacola shooter's phones | Lawmakers introduce bill restricting purchase of airline equipment from Chinese companies Bipartisan bill would restrict purchases of airport equipment from Chinese companies Red-state cities get cool reception from GOP on relief aid MORE (R-Fla.), a nephew by marriage of Castro who has strongly rebuked the dictator’s regime — took aim at comments Sanders’ made during a recent appearance on “60 Minutes.” Sanders said during the interview that while he is “very opposed to the authoritarian nature” “it’s unfair to simply say everything is bad” and offered praise for Cuba’s “massive literacy program.”

Diaz-Balart slammed Sanders’s comments, arguing the assertion education, health care or literacy improved under Castro’s regime has been disproven and highlighting the human rights abuses under his rule, calling the remarks “blatantly false, irresponsible, ignorant and hurtful."

While Republicans have seen some success in getting moderate Democrats to break party lines on procedural votes in the past, Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-PowellDebbie Mucarsel-PowellThe Hill's Coronavirus Report: Former Rep. Delaney says Trump is spewing venom when he should be leading; Protests roil the nation as fears of new virus outbreaks grow Gun control group rolls out House endorsements The Hill's Coronavirus Report: CDC Director Redfield responds to Navarro criticism; Mnuchin and Powell brief Senate panel MORE (Fla.) said that while she condemns Sanders's comments on Cuba, supporting the procedural vote could have derailed legislation she supports. She accused the GOP of playing politics with the measure. 
 
“This afternoon House Republicans attempted to use an underhanded maneuver to derail an important public health bill to protect our children from a vaping epidemic. It is shameful that they attempted to create a false choice between standing with the Cuban community and a generation of children whose health is at risk," she told The Hill in a statement.  
 
"Instead, I co-sponsored a resolution to stand with the Cuban community and voted to advance a measure to protect our kids.”

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The resolution aimed to rebuke “the comments of Senator and Democratic Socialist Presidential Candidate, Bernie Sanders (I-VT), disregarding the history of systemic human rights abuses, forced indoctrination, and authoritarian actions of the literacy and education policies of the communist Castro dictatorship in Cuba."

It also took aim at Sanders for doubling down on his comments during a CNN town hall and defending his remarks during the recent Democratic primary debate.

“The literacy and education policy of the tyrannical Castro dictatorship served to indoctrinate the Cuban people with Marxistcommunist ideology and anti-U.S. sentiment,” the measure says.

“Killings ordered by Fidel Castro are estimated to be as high as 17,000; Whereas, over 1 million Cubans were forced to flee their homeland and risked their lives to escape the Castro dictatorship,” it says.

Sanders’s comments have sparked backlash from Republicans and a number of Democrats, particularly in Florida.

Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenOVERNIGHT DEFENSE: Murkowski, Mattis criticism ratchets up pressure on GOP over Trump| Esper orders hundreds of active-duty troops outside DC sent home day after reversal | Iran releases US Navy veteran Michael White Davis: 72 hours cementing the real choice for November OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Trump signs order removing environmental reviews for major projects | New Trump air rule will limit future pollution regulations, critics say | DNC climate group calls for larger federal investment on climate than Biden plan MORE pushed back on Sanders’s assertion that his comments echoed former President Obama’s remarks on Cuba. During Tuesday night's Democratic debate, Biden stressed that Obama never spoke highly of the communist regime.