To pass the egregiously named Gas for America's Security Act, majority members of the House kept voting open a whopping 50 minutes
while they worked the floor, trying to sway their more principled colleagues. Initially, more than two dozen Republicans voted no and the initial tally had it 210 yay, 214 nay. At that point Congressmen Hastert, Barton, Blunt, and even Tom Delay -- the Hammer himself -- moved in, cajoling their colleagues until they could muster a 212-210 vote. At that point, voting was gaveled to an end and another piece of legislation had been rammed down the opposition's throats. Opponents chanted "Shame, Shame, Shame
," but the show was over. The House leadership had pulled the same trick when CAFTA was voted on in July. As the Washington Post
reported at the time:
The 217 to 215 vote came just after midnight, in a dramatic finish that highlighted the intensity brought by both sides to the battle. When the usual 15-minute voting period expired at 11:17 p.m., the no votes outnumbered the yes votes by 180 to 175, with dozens of members undeclared. House Republican leaders kept the voting open for another 47 minutes, furiously rounding up holdouts in their own party until they had secured just enough to ensure approval.