What: All Issues : Aid to Less Advantaged People, at Home & Abroad : America's Poor : Outlining rules for debate (H. Res. 65) on the College Student Relief Act (H.R. 5)/Ordering the previous question (end debate and possibility of amendment) (2007 house Roll Call 29)
 Who: All Members : New York, District 2 : King, Pete
[POW!]
 
Outlining rules for debate (H. Res. 65) on the College Student Relief Act (H.R. 5)/Ordering the previous question (end debate and possibility of amendment)
house Roll Call 29     Jan 17, 2007
Member's Vote
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Progressive Position
Progressive Result
(win or loss)

This vote was on a procedural motion to a resolution outlining the consideration of a bill that would cut interest rates in half over five years for undergraduate students receiving federally subsidized student loans.

The resolution outlined the rules for debate for the legislation, including how much floor time would be granted to each side and which amendments would be considered in order. The resolution is commonly known as the rules package.

Republicans opposed the rules package because the Democratic-controlled Rules Committee proposed what's known as a "closed rule," meaning that only the amendments pre-approved by the panel would get an up-or-down vote on the floor.

Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas) pointed out that the Democratic leadership was rushing the bill through the House without the normal legislative process, thus preventing minority involvement.

"I rise in opposition to this closed rule and this underlying legislation which the Democratic leadership has decided to bring to the House today without the benefit of regular order, committee oversight or the opportunity for any Republican input or amendment, despite repeated promises to respect the rights of the minority and to increase Member participation in this legislative process," Sessions said.

Rep. Doris Matsui (D-Calif.) said that the American people were demanding quick action on this issue, one of the priorities outlined by the Democrats during the 2006 campaign. The bill was included in the Democrats' "100 hours" legislation, the agenda for the Congress' first 100 hours in session.

Many Republicans opposed the underlying legislation because they said it would do nothing to make college more affordable. Democrats countered that because it would cut interest rates for subsidized student loans in half over the next five years, from 6.8 percent to 3.4 percent, it would help over 5 million students attend college.

This vote was on a motion ordering the previous question, which is a parliamentary maneuver that effectively ends debate, prohibits amendment and moves the House to a vote for an up-or-down of the resolution under consideration. If the motion for the previous question is defeated, the House in effect turns control of the floor over to the lawmaker who led the opposition to the question at hand, usually a member of the minority party. As such, motions to order the previous question are usually party-line votes, and the majority party almost always prevails.

Such was the case for this vote, and all Republicans present voted against the measure and all Democrats present but one voted for it, and the motion passed 225-191. Thus, the House moved on step closer to approving the rules for debate for a bill to cut interest rates for subsidized student loans in half over the next five years.

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Key: Y=Yea, N=Nay, W=Win, L=Loss