What: All Issues : Making Government Work for Everyone, Not Just the Rich or Powerful : Adequate Funding for Homeland Security : Authorizing $40 billion for the Homeland Security Department for fiscal 2008 (H.R. 1684)/Revote on the manager's amendment (2007 house Roll Call 316)
 Who: All Members : New York, District 2 : King, Pete
[POW!]
 
Authorizing $40 billion for the Homeland Security Department for fiscal 2008 (H.R. 1684)/Revote on the manager's amendment
house Roll Call 316     May 09, 2007
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This was a revote on a series of technical and substantial changes to legislation authorizing $40 billion for the Homeland Security Department (DHS) for fiscal 2008 that had been previously approved (see Roll Call 314) by the Committee of the Whole. Under House rules, any lawmaker -- in this case Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) -- can demand a revote by the full House on an amendment adopted in the Committee of the Whole.

The Committee of the Whole is used to expedite the business of the House and utilizes a lower quorum threshold, restricted time for debate and limits on the kinds of parliamentary maneuvers allowed. (A quorum is the minimum number of lawmakers required to conduct business. In the full House a quorum is 218 Members whereas a quorum in the Committee of the Whole is only 100, as long as there are no vacancies)

The amendment packaged, known as a "manager's amendment" or "chairman's mark," was offered by Homeland Security Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.). A manager's amendment is usually offered by the chairman of the committee of jurisdiction and represents a series of changes to the bill after it has been passed out of committee and before it comes before the full House.

Republicans were particularly incensed that the manager's amendment, which was adopted in the Committee of the Whole by a vote of 216 to 209, omitted "sense of Congress" language that the House and Senate each should have a single point of homeland security oversight, a recommendation of the 9/11 Commission. The language was nonbinding, but it was nonetheless stripped from the bill by the manager's amendment.

"Unfortunately, the bill that comes to the floor today has been either stripped or dramatically modified up to 50 percent of the original provisions," Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) said.

In addition, the manager's amendment also struck $1.6 billion that the original version of the bill would have authorized for the Secret Service, established new criminal penalties for maritime smuggling of illegal immigrants and required contractors to certify to DHS whether they are delinquent on their federal taxes. Thompson's amendment package also added language requiring the integration of two registered traveler programs and mandated a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on law-enforcement retirement systems. GAO is the investigative arm of Congress.

Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said the manager's amendment was simply a way to work out necessary changes to the bill.

On an almost total party-line vote, the House affirmed its previous vote. All but three Republicans voted against it, and all but 16 Democrats voted for it. Thus, by a vote of 212 to 209, the House re-approved the manager's amendment for legislation authorizing $39.8 billion in funding the Homeland Security Department for fiscal 2008, and the bill was then brought up for consideration in an amended form.

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