House Speaker Paul Ryan did the unthinkable this week – he tried to keep lawmakers on schedule and on time.
And he paid the price.
A high-profile vote on Iran sanctions Wednesday had to be nullified after the newly minted House speaker tried to enforce a 15-minute vote, by actually calling the vote to a close after the 15 minutes was up.
The legislation itself would bar the Obama administration from easing sanctions on entities involved in Iran's ballistic missile program or terrorism. Initially, the measure passed by a wide margin of 191-106.
But lawmakers notorious for their tardiness in a capital where time and deadlines don’t mean much were – perhaps expectedly – furious.
A whopping 137 House members missed a chance to vote, because they didn’t make it to the floor in time.
A Ryan spokeswoman noted they had been warned.
“The speaker made an announcement on the floor last week about keeping vote times closer to the allotted time," AshLee Strong said.
Still, the speaker ended up making an accommodation – nixing the results of the vote and planning to reschedule it.
"While we’ll continue to make [vote times] a priority, because many members missed this important vote, it was vacated and we’ll revote when we return,” Strong said.
It's not clear why so many lawmakers were late to the floor, though many had a late night with the president's final State of the Union address on Tuesday.
For her part, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi -- herself a former speaker -- said gaveling the vote closed "was premature."
"But I think the speaker is rightfully serious about expeditiously dealing with the votes in a timely fashion," she told reporters.
Typically, the first vote in a series stretches on for around half an hour. On the Senate side, votes are similarly elastic, with 15-minute votes lasting as long as the majority leader deems necessary.
The legislation, though, is a high-priority item for many lawmakers and came just hours after Iran released 10 U.S. sailors who apparently had drifted into their waters. The incident was resolved diplomatically, but the Iranians’ treatment of the sailors – including videotaping an apparent apology – infuriated some on Capitol Hill.
Lawmakers across the Capitol also have been eager to consider additional sanctions against Iran in the wake of ballistic missile tests, including a December launch near a U.S. aircraft carrier stationed in the Strait of Hormuz. Foreign policy hawks stepped up their criticism of the White House after it reversed a decision to impose new sanctions.
That reversal "certainly didn't go unnoticed in Tehran," Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain told reporters earlier this week.
"It was a direct reaction to the Iranians' threat to scuttle the whole Iranian deal," the Arizona Republican said. "The Iranians know they have us on the ropes. They can do just about anything they want to do."
Capitol Attitude is a weekly column written by members of the Fox News Capitol Hill team. Their articles take you inside the halls of Congress, and cover the spectrum of policy issues being introduced, debated and voted on there.