On Thursday morning, the Republican controlled House voted to bar the Confederate battle flag from flying over federal graveyards.
Despite most Republicans voting against it, Speaker Paul Ryan, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Whip Steve Scalise and joining Democrats were able to approve this change. Rep. Jared Huffman offered this Democratic amendment that prohibits the flag from being flown at cemeteries overseen by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Lawmakers voted 265-159, which was the first time the House casted a ballot on this divisive issue.
Last year a similar Democratic amendment demolished an entire appropriations bill after Souther Republicans objected to the measure. At the time, GOP leaders under Speaker Boehner chose to pull the entire Interior Department spending bill rather than litigating the matter in a roll call vote that could have been used by Democrats to accuse the GOP of supporting a racially divisive symbol.
Most of the Southern Republicans that opposed the amendment the first time around still stood against it, but the top three Republicans voted for the Democratic amendment. This is a sharp turn from the previous House leadership strategy. Speaker Ryan was not only willing to bring the amendment to a vote but get it passed as well. A new change strategy suggests that he is sticking by his commitment to taking tough votes on spending bills where the rule give members latitude to offer amendments.
Dolphin is an intern and contributor for Bold. She is currently studying Politics, Philosophy, and Economics at The King's College in New York City. Some of her favorite things include: hip-hop, international affairs, meeting new people, political philosophy, investment strategies, and of course eating samosas. She is excited to be working at Bold and to see what life has in store for her next!
How does this translate to tough votes on spending bills?