The Iowa House today passed two resolutions even though the House Speaker had said publicly there would be no floor action.
Fewer than five of the 100 representatives were present.
"Once again, House Republicans are governing in an extremist fashion," House Democratic Leader Kevin McCarthy said. "Because of the budget standoff, all representatives in the Iowa House were sent home this past Wednesday."
Resolutions are not laws. They are generally non-binding statements that offer support or indicate the wishes of the chamber. Bills require a majority vote.
, which calls for the federal government to halt air quality regulations related to greenhouse gas emissions for at least two years.
Neither resolution had Democratic sponsors.
"Since the measure was approved, the Iowa House is also directed to inform Iowa’s congressional delegation about its passage giving the false impression that it had unanimous, bi-partisan support in the Iowa House," McCarthy said. "House Democrats will be submitting our own letter to Iowa’s congressional delegation to let them know we did not support this controversial legislation and it should not have been called up for debate in our absence."
Including the two today, the Iowa House had approved eight resolutions during Friday sessions – a day when legislators are typically not in session. Some were co-sponsored by Democrats.
McCarthy said House Democrats noted concerns about Friday resolutions to House Majority Leader Linda Upmeyer’s staff about two or three weeks ago. Previous resolutions were non-controversial and had bipartisan support.
Resolutions, by House rules, are to have bipartisan support. Generally resolutions are unanimously supported and had a full House been in session, today’s bills would have been strongly opposed, McCarthy said.
"Today was totally different," McCarthy said. "These were resolutions that any rational person would understand would not pass unanimously."
House Republicans did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Here are the official House rules on resolutions:
* Resolutions have to be filed and numbered to be considered on the floor.
* The Majority Leader must approve a resolution before it is called up on the floor.
* No resolutions are "automatically" run. They will only run after approval from the Majority Leader.
* After approval, Resolutions will be distributed by the Chief Clerk’s office to the member’s desks the day before they are called up on the floor. They will also be distributed electronically.
* Resolutions must meet the following qualifications to be called up on the floor:
2. Statewide or National in scope: meaning that the subject matter affects all the members of the House.
3. Resolutions that do not meet these requirements may be better addressed in a point of personal privilege, with an introduction on the floor, and/or with state certificates of recognition from the Chief Clerk’s office.