Video of Van Hollen questioning House shutdown rule goes viral

WASHINGTON – It’s not often that a procedural discussion on the House floor goes viral on the web, but that’s what happened with an exchange about a House rule passed before the government shutdown, which involved Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., and Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, who was presiding over the House last weekend.

The video, which has garnered more than 2.8 million views on YouTube as of Wednesday morning, shows Van Hollen speaking with Chaffetz Saturday about changes to a House rule about who can bring a vote to the House floor to end the government shutdown.

In the past, any member could force legislation to the floor for a vote if the House and Senate don’t agree on going to a conference committee to resolve differences, according to The Baltimore Sun. However, on Oct. 1, the House adopted a resolution – House Resolution 368 – that allows only Majority Leader Eric Cantor, a Virginia Republican, to bring the vote to the floor.

Van Hollen made a motion to suspend the rules of the House, but was denied.

“H. Res. 368 changed the standing rule of the House to take away from any member of the House the privilege of calling up the Senate bill to immediately reopen the government, is that right?,” Van Hollen asked Chaffetz.

“It did change the operation of the standing rule,” Chaffetz responded.

Van Hollen asked why the rules were rigged to keep the government shut down. When Chaffetz responded that the “gentlemen will suspend,” Van Hollen then said: “Democracy has been suspended, Mr. Speaker.”

Watch the video of the exchange below:

The headline on this story has been modified to reflect that Van Hollen was questioning the House’ shutdown rule in the above video.

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