- THE BLAZE - CHRIS ENLOE - MAR 16, 2023 -
When Dem chair plays 'legislative prank on the American public'
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) abruptly left a committee meeting on Wednesday after the Democratic chairman took steps to undermine the committee's Republican members.
The Senate Homeland Security Committee was meeting for committee markup on the Fire Grants and Safety Act, a bill that would provide increased federal support for fire departments. But the meeting became tense when Chairman Gary Peters (D) used procedural tactics against Paul and the amendments he had introduced.
One of those amendments would make fire departments ineligible for federal money if they terminated employees for not getting the COVID-19 vaccine. They would become eligible, however, if they reinstated such individuals and awarded them back pay.
But Peters essentially canceled the effect of Paul's amendment "by substituting language requiring the comptroller general of the United States to conduct an audit and report on barriers that prevent fire departments from accessing funds," The Hill reported.
That was the final straw for Paul.
He accused Peters of playing a "legislative prank on the American public" by repeatedly countering his amendments with second-degree amendments, which are amendments to amendments. Paul said Peters was doing this to prevent Democrats from having to "vote directly on a vaccine amendment."
The two senators then argued over parliamentary procedures and whether Paul could offer a second-degree amendment and whether Peters' amendment was actually a third-degree amendment.
"If this is the way you're going to run the committee, I would suggest that Republicans leave," Paul finally said. "I don't see why we should stick around if you're going to make up the rule. I mean, you're going to offer a third-degree amendment?!"