House Democrats on Monday were forced to yanked more than a dozen bills from the floor schedule — including one honoring police officers for defending the Capitol on Jan. 6 — after conservative Republicans threatened to force stand-alone votes on each proposal. Other bills postponed on Monday include proposals providing military veterans with COVID vaccines, encouraging small business loans in rural areas, and expanding programs to fight child abuse.
According to The Hill, “the 13 bills had been scheduled for the suspension calendar, a routine procedure allowing non-controversial bills to move quickly to passage on the House floor. Among them was a proposal, sponsored by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), to award congressional gold medals to Capitol Police and the D.C. Metropolitan Police for each department’s role in the deadly Capitol attack on Jan. 6.”
But Republicans derailed the plan by threatening to demand a roll-call vote on each bill — a lengthy process given the health concerns surrounding the coronavirus pandemic — that would have kept lawmakers voting on the floor until almost dawn on Tuesday.
The move forced Democratic leaders to postpone floor activity on the 13 suspension bills, and will seek ways to fast-track them at a later date.
“Republicans communicated to us that they were planning on calling for a roll call vote on all 13 bills, which, in this COVID environment with each vote taking 45 minutes, would mean roughly 10 hours of votes,” the office of House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said in a statement announcing the schedule change.
“What a way to thank them,” the office added, referring to the officers in line to receive the medal.
It’s unclear why Republicans sought to prolong the debate on the suspension bills, all of which enjoyed broad bipartisan support.