One embattled Republican lawmaker showed up for work Monday night. The other didn't, but says he plans to report for duty.
The return of Rep. Vance McAllister (R-La.) and the impending return of Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.) comes as both lawmakers made news Monday at different ends of the country. With neither planning to step down immediately despite scandal, they promise to be an unwelcome distraction in the coming days for House Republicans, who have maintained a notable level of unity in recent weeks as they continue passing legislation designed to spur economic growth, boost job creation and cast doubt on the Affordable Care Act.
McAllister showed up in the House Chamber at 6:58 p.m. Monday, just as the first vote of the week was ending. He arrived hours after announcing that he will not seek reelection, but plans to stay in office until his term ends in January. He's faced pressure to resign since video surfaced of him kissing a woman who was then a staffer. McAllister made his announcement in an interview Monday morning with a Louisiana newspaper, offered another public apology and then headed for the airport with his wife, Kelly, in tow.
McAllister arrived on the House floor too late to use his voting card to cast a vote electronically, so he had to walk to the front of the chamber, write out his vote and hand it to a House Clerk. That clerk announced that McAllister had voted "aye."
McAllister headed next for a front-row seat next to House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.). Grim-faced, McCarthy listened as McAllister began speaking. They were interrupted by Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.), who patted McAllister on the back and struck up a conversation. McAllister then rose to speak with others, including Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) -- who's running for Louisiana's Senate seat -- and Reps. Pat Tiberi (R-Ohio) and Greg Walden (R-Ore.), who chairs the National Republican Congressional Committee.
After he exited the chamber, McAllister headed to the Speaker's Lobby, where reporters were waiting.
"I knew the guns were on me and I gave them the bullet," he told them.
At no point was he pressured by the GOP House leadership to resign, McAllister said, adding that his decision to remain in office until his current term expires is to ensure that the people of his district remained represented.
Grimm, meanwhile, was nowhere to be seen Monday evening despite vowing earlier in the day to serve out his term and win reelection this fall.
He made the pledge hours after surrendering to federal authorities in New York, who unveiled a 20-count indictment connected to a restaurant business he operated before entering Congress in 2011. A 30-page indictment describes in great detail how Grimm improperly paid employees at a restaurant he owned, hired undocumented immigrants and repeatedly lied to federal investigators probing the matter. The U.S. attorney leading the investigation also said that the charges unveiled Monday are part of "a larger investigation that is still continuing."
Reporters patiently awaited Grimm's return to Washington Monday afternoon outside his office, but he never showed up. The votes Monday evening were held open longer than the allotted 15 minutes, giving Grimm extra time to rush to the House Chamber and vote. But he never arrived.