Republican reaction to Democrats’ Walk-Out

In case you’re just joining the Leap Day Walk-Out saga, here’s the background.

House Republican Leader Linda Upmeyer told reporters the legislation in question — the gun-related measures — were listed on the internal “blue calendar” which is distributed to every member of the House the day before, indicating that’s the list of bills/resolutions eligible for debate the following day.”Every one of those bills is eligible for debate, so I don’t know how they were double-crossed,” Upmeyer said.

As for McCarthy’s account of events, including the meeting this morning during which McCarthy says he was told “plans had changed” and the controversial gun-related measures would be debated, Upmeyer says: “None of that is accurate…not true.”

McCarthy alleges that Democrats were unable to file the amendments to the proposals they wished because they were misled about the timing of debate. Upmeyer points to amendments which have been filed by Representative Rick Olson, a Democrat from Des Moines. “So apparently he took it seriously that we might debate those bills…I just don’t know what the surprise is.”

House Speaker Kraig Paulsen told reporters he has no intention of debating in the House without Democrats present. “We have 100 members here. They represent 30,000 people each,” Paulsen said. “I think the preferred method is to have them here. I don’t know why the Democrats left the building over a fundamental constitutional right (to keep & bear arms, which is what the resolution at the center of this controversy addresses) and having a debate on that, but hopefully they’ll be back here in a reasonable time and we can move forward with the debate.”

Paulsen can’t think of another instance like this.  “I don’t know where they went. Maybe they went somewhere and they’re going to be back in an hour. They haven’t communicated anything to me, so obviously at some point in time I want to talk to their leader. We’ve got a responsibility to run the institution and he does, too, so I would assume he would let me know his plan at some point in time.”

Was he double-crossed?

“Absolutely not,” Paulsen replied. “Is that what they’re saying? That’s absolutely ridiculous…I would like to think that they’ll work through whatever they need to work through and that their leader will give me at some point in time, let me know when they’re ready to go, and then we’ll move forward. I mean, we have a job. Iowans expect us to go to work and Republicans are ready to do that.”

One side note:  there was to be a Black History Month celebration over the nooon-hour in the Iowa House.  The chairman of that event is Representative Ako Abdul-Samad of Des Moines — one of the Democrats who walked out of the statehouse over an hour ago.

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.