This was a vote on a motion to recommit that would have increased combat pay for soldiers by $100 per month. A motion to recommit with instructions is the minority's opportunity to torpedo or significantly change a bill before a final up-or-down vote on the measure. This motion to recommit was offered to legislation authorizing annual funding for Defense Department programs.
Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-OR) urged support for this motion to recommit: “Regardless of how one feels about the underlying bill or the mission of our troops in Iraq or in Afghanistan, we can all agree, I hope, on the valor, the sacrifice, that we see in our soldiers, marines, airmen, and sailors who put themselves in harm's way for our protection. They have been sent overseas to face hostile fire and imminent danger to themselves in service to the Constitution of this great United States. They do an extraordinary job and, I believe, are deserving of our utmost support. My amendment proposes an additional authorization for an increase in combat pay for troops deployed in the field to be added to the underlying bill….I hope this body will engage in a successful debate to put the United States on a fiscally responsible path, but budgets should not be balanced on the backs of our troops.”
Rep. Buck McKeon (R-CA) opposed the motion to recommit: “The…[bill] we have before us is a result of extensive bipartisan collaboration and unprecedented transparency, and to offer this motion at this time and on this very important bill is poor form and smacks of pure politics. It pains me that after such an effort on our part to work across the aisle, the Democrats have offered this motion. I fail to see where there's not been ample time and opportunity for input, discussion, debate [on the issue of combat pay], and resolution prior to this moment. I am dismayed that they would deem it necessary and prudent to play politics with this very important bill…. I oppose this motion and ask my colleagues to stand with me.”
The House rejected this motion to recommit by a vote of 185-233. All 184 Democrats present and 1 Republican voted “yea.” 233 Republicans voted “nay.” As a result, the House rejected a motion to recommit that would have increased combat pay for soldiers by $100 per month.