What: All Issues : Making Government Work for Everyone, Not Just the Rich or Powerful : Procedural motion to declare consideration of the fiscal 2008 Homeland Security appropriations bill (HR 2638) completed/On motion that the committee rise (2007 house Roll Call 462)
 Who: All Members : New York, District 2 : King, Pete
[POW!]
 
Procedural motion to declare consideration of the fiscal 2008 Homeland Security appropriations bill (HR 2638) completed/On motion that the committee rise
house Roll Call 462     Jun 12, 2007
Member's Vote
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Progressive Position
Progressive Result
(win or loss)

This vote was on a procedural motion that the House “rise” and report as completed a bill the House had been debating (in this case, the bill that funds the Homeland Security Department – HR 2638). Generally, these are non-controversial, routine motions that pass by voice vote once the House is finished with a bill. However, sometimes the minority party (in this case, the Republicans) calls up these motions prematurely, before a bill is actually finished, and then forces roll call votes on them as a way to express displeasure or delay progress, as was the case with this party-line vote.

Unhappy with a Democratic announcement that appropriations bills would not contain any earmarks (typically money allocated to pet projects requested by individual members of Congress) until the bills reached the conference committee stage (where the House and Senate meet to reconcile their differing bills), Republicans forced numerous votes on meaningless motions and employed parliamentary maneuvers that kept the House tied up into the wee hours of the night over a series of days. This vote came toward the end of the third evening, after a particularly testy exchange between House Appropriations Chairman David Obey, D-Wis., and Spencer Bachus, R-Ala.

“We’ve already been told there will be earmarks added to the appropriation bill, but it won’t be until all the bills are passed that they’ll go to conference, and a few select members, representing probably 10 percent of the American people, they will add the earmarks. The American people will not ever know what these earmarks are until they’re passed into law,” Bachus asid.

Obey interrupted Bachus.  “We keep hearing this mythical, robotic claim from the other side of the aisle that somehow these earmarks are going to be dropped in in conference,” Obey said.

Obey said a list of every earmark would be filed within the next two months, and that members would have 30 days in which to review and comment on them before the bills are signed into law.  Obey also pointed out that Republicans are no strangers to this practice, having done something similar between 1998 and 2005. “They did not have any earmarks in the Labor-Health-Education bill until the bill was in conference. The only difference was those earmarks were never reviewed ahead of time. These will be. Those earmarks were never in public view. These will be,” Obey said.

By a party line vote of 216-188, the House defeated the procedural motion that would have declared the bill’s consideration completed, a victory for Democrats. Thus, the House continued to debate the bill funding homeland security-related programs in fiscal 2008.

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