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House Dems Block Intelligence Authorization, Veterans Choice Funding

by Countable | 7.24.17

The legislative work week got started in the House on Monday in much the same way as it usually does, with a slate of uncontroversial bills getting votes under suspension of the rules that are expected to pass because they have broad bipartisan support. Occasionally, such bills prove more contentious than expected and fail to get the votes they need, which was the case today as House Democrats blocked the Intelligence Authorization Act for fiscal year 2018.

Their gripe wasn’t about the substance of the bill, which passed the House Intelligence Committee on a unanimous voice vote, but rather the process under which it was considered. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) asked Democratic members "to vote no on the bill when it comes up under suspension so that we can take it up under a rule," calling it “unacceptable” that Republicans added the bill to the suspension calendar. And the intelligence authorization wasn’t the only suspension bill to fail, as a six-month funding extension for the Veterans Choice program was also blocked.

What is "suspension of the rules"?

Bills that are considered under suspension of the rules can only be debated on the floor for 40 minutes, and no amendments are allowed. Because the debate is accelerated for bills under suspension of the rules they have a higher support threshold to clear for passage — two-thirds of members have to vote in favor rather than the usual simple majority.

When the House debates relatively controversial bills, it does so "pursuant to a rule." Rules are passed by the Rules Committee (go figure) to structure the floor debate around the bill, and can take three forms:

  • Closed rules allow no amendments.

  • Structured rules allow only specific amendments.

  • Open rules allow any amendment to be brought up as long as it complies with the House’s "germaneness rule," which basically means amendments have to be related to the underlying bill.

What’s next for the failed bills?

While it isn't immediately clear when the bills will be brought up again, but it’s a near certainty that they will be eventually as they each had bipartisan support and enough votes from Republicans alone to pass on a simple majority vote.

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) expressed an eagerness to move the process forward as he chided Democrats to "stop playing politics with our national security, drop these partisan demands, and help us get this bill to the president’s desk as soon as possible."

Tell your reps whether to support or oppose the Intelligence Authorization Act for fiscal year 2018 after reading more below:

— Eric Revell

(Photo Credit: Nancy Pelosi via Flickr / Public Domain)

Countable

Written by Countable

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(38)
  • Curt
    07/25/2017
    ···

    Any and all bills presented under "Suppression of the rules" should automatically be a no vote. These tactics the majority are using to force the passing of bills without due review is disputable. For the last 8 years the Republicans refused to work with the Democrats. Now they have the majority and they still refuse to work with the Democrats. The worst part is they then blame the Democrats for not working with the Republicans, but the Republicans won't allow Democrats to work with them. Also the naming of these bills that actually do the opposite of what the name implies, so when the are voted down they make claims of hurting citizens by not passing the bill that would actually hurt people. There is s whole new level of scum in the swamp. If/when the Democrats act like this I feel the same way.

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  • DrCindyBean
    07/25/2017
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    Very glad about these two votes - veterans choice and intelligence authorization- both were stopped. Please get back to regular order. Start doing legislation with the time and care and attention it needs using normal processes. Stop trying to cram stuff through.

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  • Tom
    07/25/2017
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    allow the debate, allow the amendments and pass the bill. suspening the rules without good reason is too Mcconnell

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  • Patty
    07/25/2017
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    The intelligence budget bill should not be on the suspension of rules voting schedule. There is too much going on right now in our intelligence community to have this bill crammed through without debate.

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  • Chris
    07/25/2017
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    GOP needs to stop playing games and just debate and discuss bills without stifling dissent.

    Like (16)
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  • Bruce
    07/25/2017
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    Any thing Nancy votes on the American people should vote the opposite !!!

    Like (15)
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  • Glenna
    07/25/2017
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    As your constituent, this bill needs more than 40 minutes of discussion. Repubs need to quit blocking Dems

    Like (11)
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  • Shauna
    07/25/2017
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    Allow debates. Damnit!!!

    Like (8)
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  • Stallion
    07/25/2017
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    Another end run by Trump minions . Vote no until order and protocol is re-established

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  • Rachael
    07/25/2017
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    Trying to cram bills through with no debate or room for amendments is NOT democracy. Stop using vets as pawns and play by the rules guys.

    Like (6)
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  • Carol
    07/25/2017
    ···

    IF EVERY WORKING AMERICAN CITIZENS COME TO WORK EVERYDAY AND NEVER COME TOGETHER TO GET OUR JOB DONE. AND STILL GET PAID. NOT ONE OF US CAN DO THAT. YET FOR SOME REASON IT SEEMS OUR ELECTED OFFICIALS DON'T REALLY CARE RATHER THEY GET OUR AGENDA DONE , FOR THEIR BANK ACCOUNTS AND PAY CHECKS KEEP COMING. TIME TO CHANGE SOME BENEFITS AND RULES FOR OUR LAZY BIAS TRAITORS IN OUR GOVERNMENT. (( QUESTION WHO DECIDES WHO MAKE THES CHOICES AND DECISIONS WHEN IT COMES TO THES LEADERS OF OUR COUNTRY. WHY ISNT THE AMERICAN CITIZENS HAVE A VOICE IN THESE DECISIONS.

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  • John
    07/25/2017
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    Once again the dems decide to block bills simply because they can. In this case a bill for our veterans which they all agree is a good thing. When will you grow up and act like adults. Often can be said for both parties.

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  • Marc
    07/25/2017
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    I have a mediocre understanding of the concerns about rules, but I don't really know enough about either the intelligence or veterans bills to give a real good opinion. There is also something that wasn't completely clear either and that has to do with these bills being connected. Anyhow, since it seems some of these issues may not be real clear, it might be wise to slow down and make sure what they do is right

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  • Steve
    07/25/2017
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    Just as predicted the Republicans refused to allocate additional funding to enable veterans access to private physicians and instead pulled money from the existing VA budget to pay for the outside physicians. S, it's just part of their ongoing plot to privatize the VA. Not Good!

    Like (4)
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  • JayinNC
    07/25/2017
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    To hell with with the republicans and the partisan politics. This method keep the amendments that are trying to be added to this bill, as they saw its passing to be a sure thing. This will cause a debate if they try and sneak unrelated amendments in to it.

    Like (3)
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  • CombatVeteran
    07/25/2017
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    These cockroaches are making me sick! I'm a disabled veteran who knows how the backlog of appointments is. I'm currently scheduled to see a veteran's choice doctor because mine can't see me until November! Tell me, what the hell am I supposed to do without my mental health medications? Do you all think that's a safe situation? I mean, Veterans without their medications they need? Raise some hell about this. The last group that needs to give anything up is the Veterans because, without them, our nation would crumble under foreign reign.

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  • Lee
    07/25/2017
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    Stop cramming bills through. Stop. Me pay attention yo each bill. You have 4 years to get stuff gone. Stop attaching bills that have no relationship to each other. STOP

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  • David
    07/25/2017
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    Seems to me , when what is being voted on or discussed affects the public , WE should have a say in it ! let the people vote on what is being proposed. stop acting like you are the authority and we are too stupid to know what is good for us !

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  • Karan
    07/25/2017
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    Fuck you democrats. These are our veterans you sad pieces of shit. Their deaths will be on you

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  • danielmcross
    07/25/2017
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    Those two bills were terrible. Glad they were not passed as written.

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