What: All Issues : Government Checks on Corporate Power : Broadcast Media : H. Res. 474. Disapproval of Conduct. (2003 house Roll Call 677)
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H. Res. 474. Disapproval of Conduct.
house Roll Call 677     Dec 08, 2003
Progressive Position:
Nay
Progressive Result:
Loss

According to many Democrats in the House, Republican leaders have relied on heavy-handed and sometimes unethical tactics to ram their legislative agenda through Congress. During the vote on House passage of prescription drug legislation, Speaker Hastert (R-IL) extended a fifteen minute roll call vote to three hours in order to persuade Republican lawmakers who voted against the measure to change their vote (had the voting ended after fifteen minutes, which is the usual time allotted for House votes, the Republican-drafted prescription drug bill would have been defeated). Of even greater concern to Democrats were allegations of bribery involving Republican leaders and their rank-and-file. According to Representative Nick Smith (R-MI), Republican leaders offered to provide financial assistance to his son's House campaign if he would change his vote and support the prescription drug bill (Nick Smith's son, Brad Smith, had declared his candidacy for his father's seat after the elder Smith announced his plans to retire). Nick Smith declined the "offer" and, according to Smith, Republican leaders then threatened to withhold all support for Brad Smith's candidacy. In the view of Progressives, the alleged offers and threats made by Republican leaders to Representative Smith constituted bribery and, in an effort to sanction Republicans who participated in the alleged wrongdoing, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) drafted a resolution which would have formally disapproved of the three-hour prescription drug vote and the alleged bribery attempt on Representative Smith. During House debate on the resolution of disapproval, Congresswoman Johnson (R-CT) motioned to table (strike down) the resolution. Progressives opposed the tabling motion because, in their view, Republican leaders had acted inappropriately by holding a three-hour vote, possibly illegally by offering a bribe to Nick Smith, and needed to be formally admonished for their actions. Conservatives supported the tabling motion, argued that the alleged bribery had not occurred, and contended that the Speaker of the House had the right to extend the fifteen minute vote on the prescription drug bill to three-hours. On a perfectly party-line vote of 214-189, the motion to table was adopted, the resolution of disapproval was struck down, and a formal complaint was not lodged against Republican leaders for their actions during the vote on prescription drug legislation. (Note: The alleged bribery attempt on Representative Smith was referred to the House Ethics Committee and formal hearings on the matter were to commence in 2004.)

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