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Republicans Vote Against Moms; No Word Yet on Puppies, Kittens

House GOP leader John Boehner has been under a lot of stress.
House GOP leader John Boehner has been under a lot of stress. (By Mark Wilson -- Getty Images)

Worse news could come for Boehner on Tuesday, when Mississippi voters decide on a replacement for Rep. Roger Wicker (R) in a district where Bush won 62 percent of the vote in 2004. The seat should be a safe one for Republicans, but Democrat Travis Childers is running even with Republican Greg Davis -- a potential sign of things to come in November, when Republicans stand to lose another 10 seats.

Whatever happens in Mississippi, Boehner has enough trouble to preoccupy him here in Washington, where House Democrats have been passing their agenda with little thought for Republican preferences. "The majority has taken, once again, their go-it-alone policy," Boehner lamented yesterday. "It's time for Democrats and Republicans to work together."

To induce this working together, Boehner decided to stop the House from working at all. As House Democrats tried to pass legislation to ease the mortgage crisis on Wednesday, Republicans served up hours of procedural delays, demanding a score of roll call votes: 10 motions to adjourn, half a dozen motions to reconsider, various and sundry amendments, a motion to approve the daily journal, a motion to instruct and a "motion to rise."

The high point came just after 6 p.m., when, after one of the motions to adjourn, 61 members lined up to change their votes, one by one. Forty-six went from aye to no, while 15 changed from no to aye. The maneuver ate up 28 minutes in all -- and caused an eruption by Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, who accused the minority of a "filibuster by vote changing."

"I know that probably all of you did polls on that and focus groups on whether or not you should vote aye or nay," Hoyer mocked. "What just happened is not appropriate for the House for either side, to simply use a device of changing votes, of voting late, of lining up in the aisle and coming down every 30 seconds or so with one more vote."

But the dilatory maneuvers continued, and the Democrats finally announced that they would postpone the vote on the mortgage bill until Thursday, thereby pushing a war spending bill to next week.

Finally, Republicans decided yesterday to suspend their shenanigans; it was time to catch flights to their districts. "Never underestimate the desire of members to go home," Boehner spokesman Kevin Smith explained.

They might also need some extra time with their mothers.

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