House Leadership Breaks Rules to Pass Subsidies for Illegal Aliens in Farm Bill

Published October 1, 2007

The politics behind the farm bill came into full view August 2, when the electronic scoreboard in the House showed a vote of 215-213 and the word FINAL in favor of a motion to deny illegal aliens benefits in the agriculture bill.

The presiding officer, Rep. Mike McNulty (D-NY), interrupted as the clerk began to announce the result. Chaos ensued, and as time went on several members changed their vote and the measure lost 212-216. Infuriated Republicans stormed off the floor in protest.

The House leadership the next day announced that electronic records of the first vote had disappeared, adding fuel to the fire.

“The American people have the right to be outraged over the conduct that they saw–to use their hard-earned taxpayer money that they need for the health care of their family, that they need for the housing of their family, that instead is being given to illegal immigrants,” said Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX). “And to reverse a vote on the House floor after it had been concluded is unprecedented in the entire history of America.”

In another unprecedented move, the House later unanimously agreed to create a select committee, with subpoena powers, to investigate Republican charges the vote had been “stolen.”

John W. Skorburg