Sadly this is the way non-partisan issues are legislated in the US system. But the system worked -- the vote was scheduled, the relevant interest groups noticed, the media reported it, the people contacted their representatives and the bill was pulled. We win. Note also that "the vote" was a committee vote. There were plenty of other chances to stop this.
This isn't the best system, obviously, but it does work. So don't despair, just be vigilant.
Exactly. And given the relative difficulty of undoing bad legislation versus stopping it from passing (and even stopping it often takes a huge effort), whoever can afford the most persistence wins, by just waiting for the other side to slip up once.