Congress

7 Republicans voted against naming a post office after the late Rep. Louise Slaughter

One of Slaughter’s known GOP nemeses, New York Rep. Chris Collins, did not vote

Members of Congress, including then-House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer at memorial service for the late New York Rep. Louise Slaughter in the Capitol’s Statuary Hall on April 18, 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Seven Republicans voted against a House resolution Tuesday to rename a post office building in Fairport, New York, after the late Rep. Louise Slaughter and her husband Bob, who is also deceased.

Slaughter, a New York Democrat who was the first woman to chair the House Rules Committee, died last year at the age of 88 after being hospitalized for a fall in the middle of her 16th term in Congress.

While unapologetically liberal, Slaughter was friends with members in both parties. She forged a particular bond with Texas Republican Pete Sessions, who chaired the Rules panel when she served as ranking member the past few congresses. 

“You could not help but like this woman,” Speaker Paul D. Ryan said during a congressional memorial service for Slaughter last year

From the archives: ‘Louise was the life of the party’: Lawmakers eulogize Louise M. Slaughter

So why did seven Republicans vote against a resolution to rename the post office located at 770 Ayrault Road in Fairport the “Louise and Bob Slaughter Post Office”?

Those who responded to those inquiries all provided answers that had nothing to do with Slaughter and were more about why the House was spending time voting to rename post offices. 

If there were to have been a “no” stemming from a personal vendetta, it likely would have come from New York GOP Rep. Chris Collins, who had a chronicled rivalry with Slaughter. But he did not vote on the resolution, despite being present for an earlier vote series Tuesday.

Slaughter reportedly complained to the Securities and Exchange Commission about Collins urging colleagues to buy stock of a company — Austrialian biotech firm Innate Immunotherapeutics — on which he also served on the board. Collins was later indicted on charges of insider trading related to Innate stock and is awaiting trial.

One of the seven “no” votes came from Texas freshman Rep. Chip Roy, who did not serve alongside Slaughter in Congress. 

“While I didn’t know Rep. Slaughter or her husband, I am sure they were fine, patriotic people dedicated to public service,” Roy said in a statement. “I don’t think politicians should be spending valuable time naming post offices after other politicians.”

The other six Republicans who voted against renaming the post office after Slaughter were Reps. Bill Flores of Texas, Glenn Grothman of Wisconsin, Andy Harris of Maryland, Thomas Massie of Kentucky, Tom Rice of South Carolina and David Rouzer of North Carolina.

A vote on an identical resolution last Congress, which did not get taken up in the Senate before the session ended, had a total of six Republican “no” votes, including Harris and Massie. Grothman voted “present,” but Flores, Rice and Rouzer all voted “yes.” 

“There are so many unrecognized veterans who have sacrificed for this country that I think it is wrong to name a federal facility after a politician,” Massie said in a statement.

Likewise, Harris said: “We shouldn’t name post offices after congressional families unless the member of Congress was a war hero.”

Bob Slaughter did briefly serve in the U.S. Air Force from 1954 to 1955, according to his obituary

Rice, meanwhile, framed his “no” vote as protest of the use of the House floor time.

“Many of my constituents are still rebuilding their homes and lives from Hurricane Florence, which devastated the Carolinas last September. They want to see movement on disaster relief, not bills that rename post offices,” he said in a statement. 

Grothman cited both rationales, mocking the House for not addressing “the major issues of the day such as immigration, health care and welfare reform” while continuing “the time-honored tradition of naming post offices.” Despite that, he said he has no problem naming post offices after veterans.

“I knew Louise. She was a nice, kind woman who was enjoyable to work with,” Grothman said. “However, members of Congress are well-compensated and do not risk their lives for our country.”

The other members’ offices did not immediately return requests for comment on why they voted against the resolution. 

Two Republicans, Nevada’s Mark Amodei and Georgia’s Drew Ferguson, who were present during the vote series, opted not to vote on the Slaughter post office resolution.

GOP Reps. Jody Hice of Georgia, Mike Johnson of Louisiana and Ted Yoho of Florida all voted for the resolution Tuesday despite having voted against the identical one from last Congress.

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