This was a vote on passage of H.R. 2847, providing $64.4 billion in fiscal year 2010 funding for the Departments of Commerce and Justice and certain other federal agencies. The bill increased comparable funding from the 2009 fiscal year by approximately $6.75 billion. Among other things, H.R. 2847 provided $30.6 billion for science, technology, and innovation, $18.2 billion for NASA, $4.6 billion for the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, $7.9 billion for the FBI, $6.2 billion for the Bureau of Prisons, $3.4 billion for state and local law enforcement activities $2 billion for the Drug Enforcement Administration and $1.1 billion for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, and $440 million for the Legal Services Administration. Included in these larger amounts was an increase of 30% for border security and an increase of $11 million for the Office of Violence Against Women,
Rep. Wolf (R-VA), the Ranking Republican on the House Appropriations subcommittee that developed the bill, supported the measure. He said it “addresses a number of national needs and requirements, and . . . the (Democratic subcommittee) chairman has done a commendable job in balancing the many competing interests and has put together a solid bill in a fair and evenhanded way.” Wolf did also say that he had “concerns about the overall levels of spending” and noted that: “Since the other party took control of Congress, nondefense . . . discretionary spending has increased by 85 percent. This rate of spending does not represent a step toward restoring fiscal balance.”
Wolf pointed out that the legislation “does not prevent the closure of Guantanamo. . . (but it) prohibits the release of any detainees into the United States. It also prohibits transfer to the U.S. for prosecution as well as transfers or release to other countries unless and until the administration presents a comprehensive report to the Congress on the proposed disposition of each individual . . . The language will ensure that detainees are not released into our communities, and it places important restrictions and conditions on future transfers and releases.”
Rep. Burton (R-IN), who opposed the measure, noted that the bill contained “80-some pages of earmarks, of pork bill projects (while) . . . “we've been talking about cutting spending and about controlling the budget . . . at a time when we're suffering severely economically and at a time when we're spending way, way more money than the American people can afford. . . I can't understand why we're allowing all of these earmarks, many of which have nothing to do with Commerce, Justice and Science . . . and we're spending all of this money that . . . the government doesn't have.”
Rep. Price (R-GA), who also opposed the measure, noted that the bill was being considered under a procedure that “waives rules that are supposed to keep us fiscally responsible. So it waives . . . the ‘pay as you go’ rule, that (requires) things have to be paid for, that we're not going to drive the nation further into debt and deficit . . . .” Price further argued that Americans “don't believe that Washington is being fiscally responsible. They see bailout after bailout, they see expenditure after expenditure, they see bill after bill of more money going out the door and not money coming in . . . .”
The bill passed on a vote of 259-157. Two hundred and thirty-five Democrats and twenty-four Republicans voted “aye”. One hundred and forty-nine Republicans and eight Democrats voted “nay”. As a result, the House approved and sent on to the Senate the bill providing 2010 fiscal year funding for the Departments of Commerce and Justice and certain other federal agencies.