If the Republicans are so proud of this legislation, why don't they openly vote?

It would seem Bush and Co. are encouraging illegal immigration with this particular vote. I know the issue has been thoroughly debated here in the past, so let’s try not to get into arguing whether it is good or bad.

My concern is that this important issue is being brought to a vote tonight and the results are cloaked. In our supposedly free and open government, why are the participants not willing to stand up and have their vote recorded?

Strikes me as pretty sleazy.

From the Washington Times


More importantly, why are any votes “cloaked”? Does this really mean that your representatives vote in secret? That’s outrageous!

So the Republicans can keep their gardeners and cooks and maids while they go out and campaign about how illegal immigrants are “stealing jobs” from “real American workers” without looking hypocritical (again)?

I heard some interesting gossip on this whilst sitting around the bar last night.

Senator Robert Byrd (WV) is by far the cagiest old coot walking the halls of the Capitol these days. He wasn’t happy about this bill to begin with. Most importantly, he was apparently pissed off that the gutless Republicans in the House were trying to sneak this bill by under suspsension of the rules.

According to the guy I talked with, Senator Byrd suggested a trap of some sort,* which may have exposed the vote, forced a re-vote (the President needs it in his pocket before he goes to Mexico next week), or would have had it recorded as a unanimous consent. Anyway, whatever the trap was, it was a good one, because the House decided last night to record the vote anyway, at least according to another article in this morning’s Washington Times.

Here’s another thing I’m not sure about. Just because the vote is recorded, I’m not sure the Clerk of the House has to release the record of the vote until the Clerk’s Journal is archived at the end of the 107th Congress–after the election. I called around up on the Hill about this already, but protocol and rules ain’t my forte, and you can’t get a straight answer out of anyone who has a decent sense of self-preservation.

(big, ugly footnote follows)

*Somehow, the bill was passed in the Senate by unanimous consent, which means that even the frothing anti-immigration Senators get tagged with a big, fat “yes” vote on this one. We were thinking that Byrd had something to do with that, and he might have tipped off someone on the House side about how to do it over there–and all of those people are up for reelection this year. (I’ve actually seen Byrd sneak a rollcall vote past a room full of Senators in committee.) Another possibility might be to contest the Journal, which is normally automatically approved at the start of the next legislative day.

As I said, I don’t know enough about this subject, and I’m speculating on a rumor to begin with, so as is often said around these parts, don’t quote me.

Heh…this is the fun part of politics, I’d say. Maneuver and outmaneuver. This is why fictional politics is so much more interesting than real politics…they can skip the boring, droning, mundane stuff in literature and just tell about the political judo flips.


It’s glacially slow, too, and when something actually happens, I’m rarely there to see it or hear it first.

But yeah, the gossip is fun. Somehow it’s more interesting when the fate of the free world depends on some old fart’s bowels. Or more often, other parts of the anatomy.

The reason the gutless Republicans want to hide the vote is because for years they have said that “if only we controlled Congress, things would change, we could control immigration.”
Now, these gutless wonders are in control, and revealed to be working for the President.

President Fox, that is, of Mexico.
And to think that if a Democrat was President, and he proposed amnesty for illegal invaders, that these very same Republican piece of shit lawmakers, would be going ballistic.

In response to the OP…

Because there is a fundamental right of people to be able to vote in secret. That way, someone won’t be unduly influenced by peer pressure, and can truly vote their mind.


You can’t make broad statements that apply to all the people, but generally I believe that it’s the Democrats who complain that immigrants are taking jobs from “real American” workers, and Republicans who generally favor relaxed immigration policies. The immigrants that I know are generally hard-working and more likely to appreciate the freedoms that America enjoys. I want more people like that over here.

I think Ted Stevens or Jesse Helms could easily get “Cagiest Old Coot” in the Senate.

Um, is this a Texas thing? It certainly was the other way around in every part of the US I’ve ever lived in.

This does not apply to elected officials voting on legislation. This cannot apply to elected officials voting on legislation. If you have no idea how your Senator/Representative voted, how can you decide if they deserve to be re-elected or not?

This is most definitely not the case in California. The anti-immigration initiative “Prop 187” was spearheaded by the Republican Party. What part of the country is it where Democrats are known as the anti-immigation party?

Yeah, I’d like to know that, too. The Republican party gets plenty of mileage out of its perceived protectionist stance, including anti-immigration. They are also the majority party in the House, so the bill wasn’t going to pass without overt Republican approval (and because it was to be a concealed vote, it required a two-thirds majority for passage, which it got by one vote).

That was the very point of holding a cloaked vote–to coneal exactly which Republicans voted on the measure so that they will not be targeted by their own supporters at a time when many states are holding their primaries. It was a disgustingly partisan, completely hypocritical attempt to conceal their actions from the public, and they got stone-cold busted for it.

Incidentally, there is further evidence to show that they got exposed by the Journal approval issue, rather than by actually agreeing to record the vote. The Journal was contested on the 13th, the day after the bill passed:


And here is the actual list of votes on HR 1855:


Hell, while I’m at it, here’s the list of Republican representatives who voted in favor of the bill:

Armey, Biggert, Boehlert, Boehner, Bonilla, Bono, Buyer, Calvert, Cannon, Castle, Chabot, Cox, Cunningham, Davis (Tom), DeLay, Diaz-Balart, Dreier, Dunn, Ehlers, Ehrlich, English, Fletcher, Foley, Fossella, Gibbons, Gilchrest, Gillmor, Gilman, Goss, Green (WI), Grucci, Hart, Hastings (WA), Hobson, Houghton, Hyde, Issa, Johnson (CT), Johnson (IL), Kelly, Kennedy (MN), King (NY), Kirk, Knollenberg, Kolbe, Latham, LaTourette, Leach, Lewis (CA), McHugh, McKeon, Morella, Nethercutt, Ney, Northup, Nussle, Osborne, Ose, Otter, Oxley, Paul, Petri, Portman, Pryce (OH), Quinn, Radanovich, Regula, Reynolds, Rogers (KY), Ros-Lehtinen, Ryan (WI), Sensenbrenner, Shaw, Shays, Simmons, Simpson, Skeen, Smith (NJ), Smith (TX), Souder, Sununu, Tauzin, Terry, Thomas, Thornberry, Tiahrt, Tiberi, Walsh, Watkins (OK), Watts (OK), Weller, Wilson (NM)

Ahhh. That felt good. Have a nice day, all, especially you gate-lockers out there.

Oh yeah, that Pat Buchanan-he’s a real high profile Democrat!

I meant that we shouldn’t stigmatize our legislators during roll call. Open records and accountability are all well and good, but it’s ludicrous to believe that legislators aren’t ever influenced by each others’ voting. Just look at the 2000 presidential election. The polls were still open in Hawaii when returns were being reported from Maine.

Open records after the fact are great.

I think I understand what you’re driving at, Soup, but I’m here to tell ya that it doesn’t work that way. Votes are often traded like a commodity, and there are specific positions (the party whip) and adapted floor practices (suggesting the absence of a quorum) which are designed to allow members to discern what everyone is thinking and to make deals to line people up on one side or the other before the issue actually comes to a vote.

This particular bill was calculated in advance down to a single vote–one more than a two-thirds majority–which is exactly what they needed to cloak the vote. It wasn’t intended to protect the legislators from each other; it was intended to protect the legislators from their own constituents.

If a Member of Congress claims to be voting his or her conscience, it means that (s)he has already met with lobbyists from Disney. That’s just how it is.

I’d like to clear up some misconceptions about voice votes versus recorded votes by pointing you to the 107th House rules for Voting and Quorum Calls. It describes the mechanics of the voting process and the steps involved to invoke a recorded vote (which does not occur by default).

I have to thank you Sofa King, I had the opportunity to get back to Washington as a paid citizen lobbyist some years back. It was the first time in my life I agreed to wear a tie!

I spent more than a week going office to office, usually with supposed appointments for opportunities to speak to our representatives. I met with very few actual elected officials, but the ones I did get a chance to speak with all had the same questions, “How is so and so voting on this issue?”.

Frankly, as a citizen I was shocked. In my ignorance, I always assumed that my representatives represented my interests. Reality is, that everyone is in everyone else’s pocket. Legislation seems to happen because one representative owes another a favor.

It was an eye opener and I must say a huge let down to see how government REALLY operates.

That sounds pretty close to what I’ve heard, but a little different. Most politicians trade votes on things that their constituants won’t care about or care very little in exchange for votes on bills that they will care about. And yeah, sometimes they vote strictly on partly lines so they don’t get blacklisted. Not exactly utopian, but they do have their constituants interests in mind, if at least so they can get reelected.