WASHINGTON — At 11:06 a.m. on Wednesday, Rep. Don Young joined 418 other members of the House of Representatives in casting a unanimous vote honoring the American Kennel Club on its 125th anniversary.
But the Alaska Republican had had enough by 1:17 p.m., the middle of a trying legislative day that required House members to decide on a $636 billion defense spending bill, a $154 billion jobs package and a $290 billion increase in the national debt ceiling.
So Young, parting from 423 of his House colleagues, cast the lone vote in opposition of a resolution recognizing the 70th anniversary of the retirement of Justice Louis D. Brandeis from the U.S. Supreme Court.
Young's spokeswoman said he doesn't have anything against Brandeis, a Kentuckian and the first Jew ever nominated to the Supreme Court. Young also had nothing against the sponsor of the resolution, Rep. John Yarmuth, a Democrat from Kentucky.
He'd just had it with the way the House was conducting its business, said his spokeswoman, Meredith Kenny.
The House, which cast 14 roll call votes between 10:37 a.m. and 7:04 p.m. on Wednesday, was working furiously to wrap up its legislative business for the year. Young just wanted to express his irritation, Kenny said.
"We have spent the day debating the increase of the debt limit, reusing TARP funds, funding the military, etc., and the House wants to take time to vote to recognize the 70th anniversary of a Judge's retirement?" Kenny wrote in an e-mail.
"He was not trying to diminish the importance of Judge Brandeis' contributions," she added, "but rather to make the point that we had some serious issues to deal with today, and the focus should have been on those."
Throughout the course of the day, Young voted present twice. He voted against the jobs package and against raising the debt ceiling. He cast votes in favor of the Kennel Club, the defense spending bill and legislation honoring the freedom of the press and slain Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl.
And as for the Brandeis protest vote, wrote Kenny, "had the vote fallen on most any other day in the House, he very most likely would have voted 'yes.' "