The House floor erupted Thursday into a tense, chaotic situation after an amendment to protect members of the LGBT community failed several seconds after it looked like it had enough votes to pass.
The amendment from Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, D-New York, would have barred federal contracts to companies that discriminate against LGBT employees. It was an attempt to undo a provision inside a major defense bill the House passed a night earlier that would reverse President Obama’s executive order extending anti-discrimination protections to federal contractors’ LGBT employees. Democrats warned the provision will allow any federal contractor to discriminate against gay, lesbian and transgender people.
Maloney’s amendment narrowly failed Thursday 212-213 after it looked like it was going to pass 217-206 a few seconds earlier. Republican leaders held open the vote and Democrats say Republicans twisted arms, pressuring members of their conference to switch their votes so that it would fail.