Following the late-night vote on the much-watched Cromnibus in the House of Representatives, a Republican legislator quickly and quietly got yet another bill passed, after most House members were headed for the airport.
Rep. Jim Gerlach was presiding over floor activities after the temporary and controversial funding bill was passed. Gerlach waited until many House members left the floor when he called up his own bill, HR5859, and “asked unanimous consent to discharge from committee and consider.”
Gerlach then called for nays to the bill. When met with silence, HR5859 was literally quietly passed “without objection.”
The bill is titled "To impose sanctions with respect to the Russian Federation, to provide additional assistance to Ukraine, and for other purposes." What that means is not entirely clear, however, because no text was made available, not even to the members who “voted” on the bill, a Congressional staffer told Sputnik.
Sputnik called the House press office but they did not have text either, saying it sometimes takes time for legislation to be posted. A call to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs yielded the same response.
However, HR5859 comes only shortly after the passage of HR758, for which text was made available. That bill called for similar measures, including arming Ukrainian militias and upping sanctions on Russia.
That bill accused Russia of invading Ukraine and directing rebel forces in Eastern Ukraine. What HR758 means is that arming Kiev and pro-Kiev militias would engage the U.S. in a Cold War-style proxy war.
Failing to find text for HR5859 through the usual channels, Sputnik called Jim Gerlach’s office. However, an outgoing message said that Gerlach’s office is closed. Gerlach did not run for reelection and he is effectively a “lame duck” member, suggesting that HR5859 may be a “final act” in his Congressional career.
Sputnik will continue to work to obtain the text, updates to follow.