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Wednesday, November 26, 2003

Just like Florida 2000
The voting isn't over until the Bushies say it's over. From the WSWS:

Members of the House rejected the Medicare bill on a roll call vote by a margin of 218-216. However, the Republican House leadership, working in tandem with the White House, refused to close voting, even though, according to House rules, roll call votes are supposed to last only 15 minutes.

Republican House Speaker Dennis Hastert and Majority Leader Tom DeLay used their leadership powers to hold open the vote for two hours and fifty-one minutes. It took that long to strong-arm right-wing Republican House members who had voted against the bill—considering it insufficiently reactionary—and convince them to switch to the “yes” column.

The House Republican leaders were directly aided by President George W. Bush, who was flying back from London on Air Force One and telephoned recalcitrant congressmen from his plane. Karl Rove, Bush’s chief political adviser, also worked the phones, while Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson went to Capitol Hill to twist arms.

The Republicans had forced a vote on the bill, whose final version was drafted in a closed House-Senate conference, just one day after the full text became available. Voting began at 3 am, and the Republican leadership came up two votes short. Finally, at about 6 am, the vote was closed and the rigged result was recorded as 220-215 in favor.