This was a vote on passing a bill outlining the rules for floor debate on a measure that would amend the 1964 Civil Rights Act to extend the time limit in which workers can file employment discrimination lawsuits.
These types of resolutions, drafted by the House Rules Committee (and typically favorable to the majority party, in this case Democrats), set the rules for debate for bills on the House floor, including how long the bill will be debated and what, if any, amendments may be offered.
Republicans mostly spent their time complaining that the rule would not allow them to offer the sort of amendments they wanted. Lincoln Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., said the rule “clearly contradicts the majority's pledge to the American people to work with colleagues on both sides of the aisle.”
“Every Member of this House will be forbidden from offering any amendments to it. And what makes this act even more unfortunate is that this bill did not make its way through the committee process during this Congress, thereby abandoning the critical committee vetting and amendment process. In effect, what the majority is doing is sidelining the legislative process,” he said.
Chellie Pingree, D-Maine, said the bill the rule governs is identical to one passed last year and that lawmakers have had plenty of time to change the measure.
“I have also heard several arguments from my esteemed colleague from Florida. And I just want to remind him that when this bill was debated during the last session of Congress in the Education and Labor Committee where there were ample opportunities to bring amendments, those people in opposition only brought two amendments. So this is not a bill where there is tremendous disagreement,” Pingree said.
The rule was adopted by a vote of 252-174. Every Republican present voted against the measure, while every Democrat present voted for it. The end result is that the House adopted a bill outlining the rules governing floor debate of a measure that would extend the time limits in which someone may file a lawsuit for employment discrimination.