What: All Issues : Environment : Global Warming : H. Res. 219, providing for consideration of the resolution (H. Res. 202) providing for House committee expenses in the 110th Congress/On ordering the previous question (2007 house Roll Call 127)
 Who: All Members : New York, District 2 : King, Pete
[POW!]
 
H. Res. 219, providing for consideration of the resolution (H. Res. 202) providing for House committee expenses in the 110th Congress/On ordering the previous question
house Roll Call 127     Mar 08, 2007
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This resolution outlined the rules for debate for a measure to provide $276.4 million to fund the operations of 20 committees during the 110th Congress, a 7.4 percent overall increase over committee spending over the most recent two-year Congress. More controversially, the measure also would create a new select committee to investigate the threats of global warming.

The Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming was a priority of Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D-Calif.). In order not to threaten the turfs of existing House chairman, Pelosi set up the committee as an advisory panel that lacks legislative authority. Many Republicans opposed it on general grounds of the party's skepticism of legislation to reduce greenhouse gases. Additionally, some Democratic chairman of existing committees with jurisdiction over the issue of climate change were worried that the new panel would trample on their authority.

Due to this opposition from both Republicans and within her own party, Pelosi chose to create the panel through a parliamentary maneuver: putting the provision in a rule governing debate of a measure funding House committees (including staff pay and office expenses).

"Simply put, people the world over can breathe easier, because this resolution will institutionalize the commitment of the House of Representatives to confronting global warming," said Rules Committee Chairwoman Louise M. Slaughter (D-N.Y.).

The ranking Republican member on the panel, Rep. David Dreier (Calif.), said the process was "outrageous," as he said Republicans had been shut out of the discussions. Republicans also indicated that the money for the panel ($3.7 million over the next two years) would be better spent on the ethics committee.

"Today we'll see where Democrats' true priorities lie," said Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas).

An angry Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-Ohio), who chairs the ethics committee, responded: "You're not going to use my committee on the floor," said, accusing Sessions of political gamesmanship and leaving the House floor in haste.

The House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct is slated to receive $5 million under the resolution, a small increase over the previous Congress but $1 million less than the committee requested. Democrats defended the funding levels as adequate and reflective of the difficult choices foisted upon them by the ever-growing federal deficit.

This vote was 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 only one lawmaker from each party broke ranks, and the motion passed 228-195. Thus, a measure outlining rules for debate on a resolution providing for committee expenses for the 110th Congress was passed with a provision creating a new select committee on climate change.

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