House Speaker Paul Ryan, at a news conference immediately after the vote, denied knowledge about the vote-switching.
“This is federalism. The states should do this. The federal government shouldn’t stick its nose in this business,” said Ryan, R-Wis.
The vote for Maloney’s amendment peaked at 217, the majority needed for passage, before it began a sporadic decline. Members of the Republican leadership whose job is to round up needed votes were stalking the House aisles where GOP lawmakers seat, and they openly pleaded for support.
“Need two more votes,” Rep. Steve Russell, R-Okla., said loudly as he prowled among Republicans.
Democrats were outraged, loudly chanting as their leader, Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California, yelled up from near the well of the House at her members, imploring them to vote down the underlying bill.
In the end, 29 Republicans joined 183 Democrats backing the measure, but it was not enough.
Democrats were quick to publicize the name of the Republican vote-switchers. Reps. Darrell Issa, Jeff Denham, David Valadao and Mimi Walters of California; Greg Walden of Oregon; Bruce Poliquin of Maine; and David Young of Iowa.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.