Republicans block bill to name post office after former progressive Rep. Woolsey

The House on Wednesday failed to pass a bill that would name a California post office after one of its own former members after most Republicans prevented it from advancing under a fast-track process.

The bill’s failure is yet another example of the ever more partisan environment in the House, given that bills to name post offices typically pass handily, either by voice vote or nearly unanimously. 

The legislation would rename a post office in Petaluma, Calif., after former Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif.), who served in the House for two decades from 1993 to 2013 and was a co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

House Democrats scheduled the bill for a vote under a fast-track process that requires a two-thirds supermajority for passage. But while it secured a simple majority, 245-167, it fell short of the two-thirds threshold because 167 Republicans voted against it. Twenty-nine Republicans voted for the bill.

Democrats can bring up the bill for another vote under a process that would only require a simple majority, but it’s not yet clear if they will do so.

“I’m grateful that a bipartisan majority of the House voted to advance this bill and disappointed that some Republicans in a partisan stunt prevented it from passing on suspension,” Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.), who succeeded Woolsey in Congress and authored the bill, said in a statement.

Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-Mont.) spearheaded the GOP opposition to the bill after taking objection to two particular events in Woolsey’s record.

The first was that Woolsey was one of 31 Democrats who voted against certifying the 2004 presidential election results in Ohio, which former President George W. Bush won by 118,457 votes. A recount of Ohio’s election results found that Bush won the state by about 300 fewer votes than initially recorded.

Republicans have pointed to Democrats’ past objections to GOP presidential victories as justification for their own challenges to states that President Biden won in 2020 leading up to the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol by a mob of former President Trump’s supporters.

The second was that Woolsey sought a lenient sentence — using congressional stationery — for a convicted rapist who was the son of one of her staffers. Woolsey later apologized for “making a horrible situation worse.”

Rosendale’s office urged fellow Republicans to vote against the bill, and Rosendale himself made the case to colleagues on the House floor on Wednesday morning, according to a GOP source familiar with the effort.

The House debated the bill on the floor last week, but didn’t schedule a vote until Wednesday.

No one spoke in opposition to the bill when lawmakers debated the legislation. The only Republican who did speak during debate, Rep. Jake LaTurner (R-Kan.), said that he supported the bill and only briefly summarized Woolsey’s record serving on the Petaluma City Council and two decades in the House bringing “attention to the struggles of impoverished women and children.”

A spokesperson for LaTurner, who is currently in his first term in office, didn’t immediately return a request for comment. 

Huffman called his predecessor a “one-of-a-kind, barrier-breaking trailblazer and a lifelong advocate for women and working families” during his House floor remarks.

He cited Woolsey’s background as a single mother who turned to public assistance to support her three children and her advocacy in opposition to the Iraq War.

“Her work in Congress was all about fighting for children and families, and nothing made her prouder than her own children and family,” Huffman said.

Tags Donald Trump Jared Huffman Joe Biden Lynn Woolsey post offices

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