Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky walked out in protest during a meeting of the Senate Homeland Security Committee after the panel’s Democratic chairman, Sen. Gary Peters of Michigan, used cheap procedural tricks to repeatedly block GOP amendments to the Fire Grants and Safety Act.
“So earlier, the chair replaced my amendment with a secondary amendment because they were playing, basically, a legislative sort of prank on the American public so the other side wouldn’t have to vote directly on a vaccine amendment,” Paul said on Wednesday.
“So basically, we will do exactly the same thing and offer a second-degree amendment to the Scott amendment, and this amendment will be my amendment three, which says that firehouses that fired people for vaccines would not be eligible for grants.”
When Peters reacted by introducing amendments to the amendments that Paul had proposed, they engaged in a long back-and-forth over the Kentucky Republican’s ability to call an amendment after being recognized.
Paul eventually had his fill of that and called out the Democrat for his absurd game-playing.
“If this is the way you’re going to run the committee, I would suggest that the Republicans leave,” he told Peters.
“I don’t see why we should stick around if you’re going to make up the rules.”
Paul was reacting to Peters’ sleazy maneuver of introducing amendments to prior amendments that Paul had proposed to the Fire Grants and Safety Act.
In a nutshell, his amendment would block fire departments that terminated workers for not getting the COVID-19 vaccine from getting federal funds. However, the departments would be eligible for the money if they reinstated fired employees and gave them back pay.
Ironically, Democrats — the champions of “slavery reparations” — oppose this, so Peters introduced amendments that essentially canceled out Paul’s proposal to compensate unjustly fired employees.
Paul’s amendment was an amendment-to-an-amendment, or what’s known as a second-degree amendment. This is procedurally normal.
However, in childish tit-for-tat fashion, Peters proposed competing third-degree amendments (i.e., an amendment-to-an-amendment-to-an-amendment) to Paul’s second-degree amendments in a cycle of pettiness designed to cancel whatever proposals the Kentucky senator had suggested.
The senator-physician, who was disgusted at these immature filibustering tactics, said: “I mean, you’re going to offer a third-degree amendment?”
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, who left the Democratic Party in December to become an independent, intervened, urging everyone to calmly collaborate to resolve the dispute.
“Mr. Chair, might I humbly suggest that we can work through these procedural issues to take all of the votes. And I would just suggest we all take a couple minutes, lower the temperature and just figure out what the procedure is and follow it,” she said.
“There’s no need for us to turn this committee hearing into a partisan, ugly place like we’ve seen in other committees. We don’t need to do that.”
Paul replied: “This is the first time we’ve had a hearing since I’ve been here that I know of where we’ve gotten second-degree amendments on every one of our amendments to avoid voting on the amendment.”
The senator underscored that he would not remain in the hearing just so Democrats could waste time with frivolous tricks.
“I, for one, won’t stay here — and would recommend that no Republicans stay here — if we’re going to have a third-degree amendment that only the majority [Democrats] gets to offer,” he said.
As the discussion continued with the mics turned off, the senator stood up and eventually left the room.
Kudos to Paul for standing his ground. It’s nauseating that taxpayer money is being wasted on these harebrained shenanigans when the nation is falling apart.
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