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House Defeats First Ethics Vote Protest

The House just beat back the first formal protest against last night's controversial votes to create a new Office of Congressional Ethics. The chamber voted along party lines, 215-193, to table a Republican resolution calling for yesterday's votes to be scuttled and for at least two full-scale investigations of the evening's events.

Republicans believe that a procedural vote before final passage of the ethics reform bill last night was held open well past the allotted 15 minutes because Democrats were losing on the question and needed the extra time to twist arms. The GOP argues that tactic violated a new House rule implemented at the start of this Congress preventing a vote from being "held open for the sole purpose of reversing the outcome of such vote."

Today's vote was on a GOP resolution calling for both the ethics committee and another panel -- a select committee already established to investigate a controversial August vote -- to probe last night's events, and for the controversial vote in question to be vacated. The GOP's move today failed, but that doesn't mean this fight is over. Bringing such resolutions to the floor is one of the few weapons available to the minority in the House, so Republicans are expected to employ this method more often as this election year goes on to make the argument that Democrats are hypocrites.

By Ben Pershing  |  March 12, 2008; 11:42 AM ET
Categories:  Ethics and Rules  
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