Chaos Erupts in House of Representatives After Republicans Block Anti-Discrimination Bill

House party leaders struggled to maintain order Thursday after seven Republican lawmakers switched their votes to block an anti-LGBT discrimination amendment in the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act. Democrats stood on their feet shouting “Shame! Shame! Shame!” after the measure failed 212-213, an earlier tally had the votes at 217 in favor of the amendment.

As the chair demanded order in the chamber, Wisconsin Democrat Gwen Moore shouted, “No, there will not be!” Politico reports.

A contentious fight has been brewing in the House over the "Russell amendment,” a bipartisan provision of the NDAA that bars the U.S. government from hiring contractors who discriminate against LGBT people; attempts by House Republicans drew rebuke from Democrats, civil rights activists and the White House.

New York Democrat Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, who proposed the amendment, said the battle over the anti-discrimination law “is one of the ugliest episodes I've experienced in my three-plus years as a member of this House.”

Speaker Paul Ryan denied knowing whether his team played a role in convincing the seven representatives to switch, but defended the move as “federalism.” 

“The states should do this. The federal government shouldn't stick its nose in its business,” he said.

Minority Whip Steny Hoyer’s press office tweeted out the names of the seven Republicans who switched their votes.

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