Sunday’s New York Times featured reporter Emily Cochrane’s “At Demand for Roll Call Votes, Colleagues Grouse: ‘This Is So Stupid,’” on Republican congressman Chip Roy of Texas insisting on roll-call votes on amendments before the House of Representatives. The text box quoted one of Roy's colleagues: “All he’s doing is making everybody mad.”
Times reporters sure become easily annoyed at Republican political stunts -- but Democratic ones, like the summer of 2016 Democratic “sit-in” on the House floor to demand a gun-control vote, were seen as just, even admirable, by the Times and the rest of the press.
It was almost midnight, and the representatives of the people’s House were grouchy.
For the first time in recent memory, a vote had been demanded on every amendment in a spending package, extending an already unwieldy and gridlocked process painfully late.
The hardships were pretty small-bore, but Cochrane made the most of them.
Dinners were rescheduled. Meetings -- and a congressional baseball practice -- were missed. Bleary-eyed members made pacts to keep one another awake on the House floor, as a series of two-minute votes last week rolled well into 1 a.m.
And almost everyone was mad at Representative Chip Roy, the freshman Republican from Texas who was leading a campaign to force dozens of votes late into the night -- a campaign that would span two weeks of House session.
Cochrane passed on casual “threats” of violence in a suitably casual manner – but one can imagine a disturbed reaction if the intended “victim” had been a Democrat rather than a conservative Republican.
“What does this Chip Roy guy look like?” one member asked a colleague on the way to the bathroom. “Because I’m gonna punch him in,” he paused, suddenly aware that a reporter and staff members were in earshot, “an area of his body.”
And while Mr. Roy ultimately ended his relentless demand for roll call votes this week, the effort -- if repeated -- could prompt party leadership to clamp down on House rules, signaling a departure from the promise of regular order that begins each new Congress....
“I don’t know what he’s trying to accomplish,” said Representative John Yarmuth of Kentucky, the chairman of the House Budget Committee. “All he’s doing is making everybody mad.”
The Times liked Yarmuth’s quote so much they made it the story’s text box. Given that Yarmuth has questioned President Trump’s mental health, perhaps he’s not the best go-to guy for lessons about decorum.
Summing up the general mood, one member could be heard grousing on Wednesday, “This is so stupid,” as representatives returned to the chamber, visibly soaked from the torrential rainstorm outside.
For several, it was the first time they had heard of Mr. Roy, who first made headlines this year by single-handedly blocking a disaster-relief bill. (Most declined to comment publicly on the record about their numerous grievances toward him.)
Mr. Roy, for his part, seemed unperturbed by the collective wrath over the votes. In an interview, he reveled in the late-night chaos and the delay.
“For me, use the tools at your disposal,” said Mr. Roy, who spent his 15th wedding anniversary engaging in bouts of procedural warfare. While the right flank of his party lauded his efforts, he said objections came primarily from “old-guard types who didn’t and never would love a strategy that causes swamp pain.”
“I’m not interested in playing every angle in this town for politics as much as I am trying to do my damn job,” he said, rebuffing accusations of grandstanding.
Little was said about Roy’s goal: pushing for increased border security funding.
The paper's ideological double standard on congressional antics has a history: The paper hated Sen. Rand Paul’s principled filibuster in 2015 against the National Security Agency's bulk information collection program (a strange stand for a journalistic entity to be annoyed with). Yet Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s eight-hour “soliloquy” in support of the so-called “Dreamers” in 2018 was praised.