This was a vote on an amendment by Rep. John Campbell (R-CA) that would have cut 3.5% of Defense Department and Homeland Security Department spending from a “continuing resolution,” which funded the federal government through September 2011.
Campbell urged support for his amendment: “This amendment deals with…the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security…. We must learn how to defend this country for less, and we can do that….We need to defend our country against vulnerabilities; but our debt, which is now 47 percent held by foreigners--and that percentage is increasing--is a greater threat to the security of this country than any aircraft carrier. It is a greater threat than any military force out there. We have to deal with that, but we can't deal with this debt unless we include the large spending in the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security and defend this country for less.”
Rep. Norm Dicks (D-WA) opposed the amendment: “I am concerned that the levels of cuts proposed by the gentleman from California go too far and will adversely affect many defense readiness programs…. this is not time to take a hatchet to these programs. The amendment would cause DOD to terminate contracts, which will, in turn, force companies to lay off employees. Defense spending cannot, of course, be justified simply by jobs; but at the same time, the prospect of adding to our unemployment just as we are emerging from the recession should be a consideration.”
Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ) also opposed the amendment, saying: “At a time of war, we should be showing support for our troops and not undercutting them, even though for good reasons, in order to lower the federal deficit by making reductions of this amount.”
The House rejected this amendment by a vote of 68-357. Voting “yea” were 46 Democrats—including a majority of progressives—and 22 Republicans. 215 Republicans and 142 Democrats voted “nay.” As a result, the House rejected an amendment that would have cut 3.5% of Defense Department and Homeland Security Department spending from a continuing resolution.