What: All Issues : Environment : Global Warming : Providing consideration for the fiscal 2008 Intelligence Authorization (H.R. 2082)/Motion to order the previous question (ending debate and preventing amendment) (2007 house Roll Call 324)
 Who: All Members : New York, District 2 : King, Pete
Providing consideration for the fiscal 2008 Intelligence Authorization (H.R. 2082)/Motion to order the previous question (ending debate and preventing amendment)
house Roll Call 324     May 10, 2007
Member's Vote
or not)
Progressive Position
Progressive Result
(win or loss)

This motion was offered to force a vote on the rules for debate on a bill to authorize funding for the intelligence agencies for fiscal 2008. The intelligence budget is classified, but it is estimated to be around $45 billion annually and includes money for the CIA, the National Security Agency, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and the Defense Intelligence Agency. Intelligence Chairman Silvestre Reyes (D-Texas) said the legislation represented the largest budget for intelligence spending in history.

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 thus commonly known as the rules package. 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 up-or-down vote on the resolution under consideration.

To oppose ordering the previous question was a vote against the Democratic majority agenda and to allow the opposition to offer an alternative plan. Motions to order the previous question are about who controls the debate and represent one of the only tools available to those who oppose the majority's agenda.

Republicans opposed the rules package because of their opposition to the so-called "structured rule" proposed by the Democratic-controlled Rules Committee. Under a structured rule, only amendments pre-approved by the Rules Committee can be offered on the House floor. In this case, the rule made in order a total of 10 amendments, almost half of which were offered by Republicans.

Republicans also opposed the rules package because of their discontent with a provision in the bill itself that would request that the National Intelligence Council produce a National Intelligence Estimate on the national security impact of climate change, an action requested by 11 three- and four-star generals. Democrats said the provision was important because, in the words of Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.), "climate change is impacting global security."

"Just look at the Middle East, the battle for scarce resources among those who have been displaced, particularly in Iraq, has the potential to generate sociopolitical environments that foster the creation of terrorist cells," Hastings said. "If we can't agree on this, I can assure you that we are going to have significant problems in the future. Even the National Defense University has recognized these implications by prioritizing response to large-scale national disasters in some of its most recent training simulations."

Rep. Doc Hastings (R-Wash.) said that the provision eroded what otherwise would have been bipartisan support for the bill. He said it was unwise to direct the intelligence community's "limited resources" to an assessment "on theoretical risks from global warming."

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 but one Democrat present voted for it, and the motion passed 223 to 199. Thus, on a party-line vote, the House ended debate and brought to a vote the rules for consideration for legislation that would authorize a classified sum for intelligence spending for fiscal 2008.

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