Earlier Redstate’s Pejman Yousefzadeh argued that Nancy Pelosi misread her caucus. I have an alternative hypothesis: she wanted the bill to fail. I have three pieces of evidence. First, yesterday, Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC), the House Majority Whip told the Politico that he was not whipping the vote and was not asked to whip the vote:
Asked about Monday’s vote on the bailout bill, House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn tells reporters: “We haven’t started whipping.” Asked if he’s going to start whipping, Clyburn says: “The speaker hasn’t told me yet. I do what I’m told.”
Second, as Pejman noted previously, Rep. Peter deFazio (D-OR) told NPR that he was never whipped on the question. Listen:
Third, look at the actual procedure on this. From the clerk’s floor summary:
- 2:07 P.M. –
- Motion to reconsider laid on the table Agreed to without objection.
On motion that the House agree to the Senate amendment to the House amendment to the Senate amendment Failed by recorded vote: 205 – 228 (Roll No. 674).
Note the "motion to reconsider laid on the table Agreed to without objection." If the Democrats had wanted this to pass, they would not have said that. The procedural guts of this is that any vote in the House can be "reconsidered" by a motion to reconsider that is in order from a member of the prevailing side for two legislative days. By tabling this, that option is off the table.
The simplest option for Pelosi would have been to wait an hour, watch the markets collapse for a while, scare 12 Democrats and hold a revote. Surely some Republicans would have participated in this.
Nancy Pelosi and the House Democrats had a way to win this vote today. Either out of incompetence or strategy, they walked away from that opportunity.