Angry Republicans continued to tie up the House yesterday and agreed on more drastic steps, including a walkout Wednesday, when House Democrats are to try to seat the Democratic candidate in Indiana's disputed 8th Congressional District election.
Republicans demanded votes on several minor matters yesterday and tried to adjourn the House before the task force on the election could submit its report, which found Democratic incumbent Frank McCloskey the four-vote winner over Republican Richard D. McIntyre. The motion was defeated, 168 to 124.
Today, the GOP is to move to have the southwest Indiana seat officially declared vacant so that Indiana Gov. Robert Orr can call a special election.
Democratic leaders said yesterday that they expect to defeat the GOP proposal easily. Only a handful of Democrats, primarily southern conservatives, are expected to side with the Republicans, who control 182 of the 435 seats in the House.
"I think, though I cannot speak for all members, that most were fully satisfied with the objectivity, fairness and total honesty of the recount" by the special task force, said House Majority Leader James C. Wright Jr. (D-Tex.).
Republicans have bitterly disputed the recount, arguing that a decision by the Democratic-dominated task force against counting about 30 absentee ballots was wrong and designed to make McCloskey the winner.
Last week the GOP began using delaying tactics to stall the House as a sign of their displeasure with what they call a "stolen" election.
Yesterday Republicans on the House Administration Committee, which appointed the task force, charged that the committee's recommendation that McCloskey be seated "sets a new standard for a shameful exercise by the majority of partisan political power at the expense of the U.S. House of Representatives."
The Republican leadership met yesterday to plot strategy for the rest of the week. On Wednesday, they will use every available maneuver to stall the Democratic proposal to seat McCloskey. And if the Democrats win, the Republicans plan to stage a walk out from the House chamber that officials said could last all day or the rest of the week. They also plan to hold a mock swearing-in for McIntyre.
Democrats, aware that the Republicans are determined to tie the House in knots, yesterday pulled the 1986 foreign-aid authorization off this week's agenda. "We don't know what is going to happen," said one official.