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)/On adoption of the resolution (2007 house Roll Call 30)
 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)/On adoption of the resolution
house Roll Call 30     Jan 17, 2007
Member's Vote
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or not)
Progressive Position
Progressive Result
(win or loss)

This was the final vote on a resolution outlining the consideration of a bill that would cut interest rates in half over five years for undergraduate students with 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. This type of resolution is commonly known as a 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 and excluding 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.

"This is rhetoric that does not turn into a sound proposal," said Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.)."Democrats and Republicans should have the opportunity to offer amendments to make this a much better piece of legislation."

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 more students attend college.

Votes on procedural motions such as approving the rules package are almost always party-line affairs, with the minority unanimous in its opposition and the majority supporting the rules for consideration drafted by their party. Such was the case for this vote. By a strictly party-line vote of 233 to 190, with all of the Democrats present in favor and all of the Republicans present opposed, the House voted to approve the rules for debate for a measure to cut subsidized student loan rates in half over the next five years.

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