Pre-Shutdown Rule Change Prevents House Members From Calling Vote on Clean CR

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Courtney Pomeroy, All News 99.1 WNEW (Credit: CBSDC.com) Courtney Pomeroy
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LANHAM, Md. (CBSDC) — A video posted on Rep. Chris Van Hollen‘s (D-Md.) YouTube account Oct. 12 has gone viral as the government shutdown and Congressional impasse continues.

Entitled “The GOP’s little rule change they hoped you wouldn’t notice,” the video features Van Hollen, who represents Maryland’s 8th District discussing a House Rules Committee change that was put in place on Sept. 30.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), was Speaker Pro Tempore at the time.

There’s a lot of political jargon in their exchange, but Van Hollen explains his gripe in the video description like this:

Late in the evening on September 30, 2013, the House Rules Committee Republicans changed the Rules of the House so that the ONLY Member allowed to call up the Senate’s clean CR for a vote was Majority Leader Eric Cantor or his designee — all but guaranteeing the government would shut down a few hours later and would stay shut down. Previously, any Member would have had the right to bring the CR up for a vote. Democracy has been suspended in the House of Representatives.

Rep. Eric Cantor, a Republican, represents Virginia’s 7th District.

Around the 4-minute 35-second mark of the video, Van Hollen’s point is made.

“I make my motion, Mr. Speaker,” Van Hollen says. “I renew my motion that under the regular standing rules of the House Clause 4, Rule 22, that the House take up the Senate amendments and open the government now.”

Chaffetz responds by saying that “under Section 2 of House Resolution 368, that motion may be offered only by the Majority Leader or his designee.”

Sarah Binder, professor of Political Science at George Washington University, tells WNEW’s John Domen that the rule “takes away power not only for the minority party, but it takes away power from the rank and file.”

“It requires Republican moderates to go against the leadership and we haven’t seen a lot of that,” Binder added.

The YouTube video has more than 2 million views.

WNEW’s John Domen contributed to this report. Follow him and WNEW on Twitter.

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