Eric Cantor pulled Representative Justin Amash asideSubmitted by Barracuda_Trader on Sat, 07/27/2013 - 05:17
The NSA Fight
The Michigan congressman determined to stop the NSA’s abuses wins a battle against House GOP leaders.
By Jonathan Strong
On Friday, July 19, on the House floor, Majority Leader Eric Cantor pulled Representative Justin Amash aside, ushering him into a meeting with whip Kevin McCarthy and three of Amash’s congressional allies.
Cantor pressed Amash to withdraw his amendment to stop the National Security Agency from collecting logs of every American’s phone calls and said he would work to provide a vote on the issue in a future bill.
But several of Cantor’s top aides, who were also present, gave what Amash thought was a more threatening overture: There’s bound to be a procedural technicality we can use to kill the amendment, they said, and we’re going to find it.
The meeting, which has not been previously reported, underscores the efforts of some in House leadership to stop the proposal, which was offered as an amendment to the Department of Defense appropriations bill, from coming to a vote, according to documents reviewed by National Review and to interviews with participants.The amendment had already been through the procedural wringer, with the House parliamentarian’s office giving an initial approval that it was “in order” to change its mind only as outside parties, including GOP leadership, weighed in.
Indeed, prior to an all-important Rules Committee meeting that would decide whether the amendment ever got to see the light of day, the measure was headed for a premature death.
It was Speaker John Boehner who ultimately saved it, giving the amendment the green light after discussing it for the first time with Amash on the House floor on Monday night — minutes before the Rules Committee had been slated to kill it.
Boehner never told Amash why he would give the Michigan Republican, of all people, the privilege of the vote. Amash had helped lead a failed coup attempt against the speaker in January, and Boehner was so deeply opposed to the amendment he took the rare step of voting against it. (By tradition, the speaker doesn’t usually vote.)