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Kingston Calls For Ethical Vote On Ethics Legislation

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

Kingston Calls For Ethical Vote On Ethics Legislation

Last night, Congressman Jack Kingston (GA-1) called on Speaker Nancy Pelosi (CA-8) to hold an ethical vote on ethics legislation. On Tuesday evening, the Speaker violated House rules she instituted by holding a vote open for more than 15 minutes in order to change its outcome.

The letter reads:

"During your time as a member of the minority party, you rallied against heavy-handed floor tactics by the Republican majority, particularly the practice of letting the clock run past the allotted fifteen minute time period in order to change the outcome of the vote. In many cases you were right, such as the well publicized vote on Medicare Part D.

Upon taking the Speakership, you made several pledges to end this unfair practice. According to the majority's manifesto, New Direction for America: "Floor votes should be completed within 15 minutes... No vote shall be held open in order to manipulate the outcome" (p. 24). Then in the opening days of the 110th Congress, we passed a new House rule to stop the practice forever. Specifically, the text of House Rule XX, Clause 2(a): "A record vote by electronic device shall not be held open for the sole purpose of reversing the outcome of such vote."

Now it seems those promises are forgotten and once again the majority party, now under your leadership, engages in this unfair practice anytime you want to change the outcome of a vote.

Last night, all of us watched the fifteen minutes of time expire on the vote on the previous question for H. Res. 1031, "providing for the adoption of the resolution (H. Res. 895) establishing within the House of Representatives an Office of Congressional Ethics." Rather than calling the vote at that time with the vote standing at 204-209, the majority party left the vote open far beyond the allocated time. During that time, several members of your party changed their votes, including G.K. Butterfield, Sanford Bishop, Emanuel Cleaver and Bart Stupak. At approximately 10:00 p.m., the chair called the vote at 207-206, and the motion passed after 31 minutes of the vote being held open.

We write to ask you to hold another vote on the Ethics Bill so that it can proceed under regular order and the Rules of the House."

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