What: All Issues : Making Government Work for Everyone, Not Just the Rich or Powerful : (H.R. 3170) On the Flake of Arizona, which would have eliminated $90,000 earmarked for the Commercial Kitchen Business Incubator in California. (2009 house Roll Call 565)
 Who: All Members : New York, District 2 : King, Pete
[POW!]
 
(H.R. 3170) On the Flake of Arizona, which would have eliminated $90,000 earmarked for the Commercial Kitchen Business Incubator in California.
house Roll Call 565     Jul 16, 2009
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This was a vote on an amendment offered by Rep. Flake (R-AZ) to H.R. 3081, the bill providing fiscal year 2010 funding for the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Small Business Administration, the federal courts and many other federal government operations. The amendment would have eliminated a $90,000 earmark in H.R. 3081 for the Commercial Kitchen Business Incubator in Watsonville, California. The funding was for the purchase of industrial kitchen equipment for food service microenterprise to be used by this small business incubator. An earmark is a project that benefits only a specific constituency or geographic area, and which is inserted into a spending bill by an individual Member. A number of Republicans, of whom Rep. Flake was the most active, had been consistent critics of earmarks, and had been offering a series of amendments to remove them from spending bills.

Rep. Farr (D-CA) was responsible for having the earmark inserted in the spending bill. He first noted that the local area around Watsonville, California had been suffering economically and had an unemployment rate over 25 percent. Farr then said the area was rich in crops and had been trying to “create businesses that people who have no capital, have no ability to go out and borrow money can start (and one of those) . . . is the catering business . . . .” Farr also said “in order to do that and to get into the commercial world, you have to have a commercially licensed kitchen.” Farr concluded his remarks by saying the amendment goes “after the poorest of the poor who want to get on their feet, who want to get off welfare and have that American Dream.”

Rep. Flake, speaking on behalf of his amendment, said “there are a lot of areas in the country that are hurting . . . (and) there are a lot of business incubator services provided by chambers of commerce, trade associations and private sector organizations just wishing to supply services and to make a dollar. And yet now they are going to be asked to compete with a government entity that is receiving federal largesse. And it simply doesn't work very well. We know we don't have sufficient money to spread around to everybody who wants it. We are running a deficit that could approach $2 trillion. So we have to prioritize here. I would suggest it is time to say that we can no longer fund these business incubators that have kind of a nebulous mission . . . . ”

The amendment was defeated by a vote of 120-311. One hundred and twelve Republicans and eight Democrats voted “aye”. Two hundred and forty-eight Democrats and sixty-three Republicans voted “nay”. As a result, the earmark for the Commercial Kitchen Business Incubator in Watsonville, California remained in H.R. 3170. 

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