What: All Issues : Making Government Work for Everyone, Not Just the Rich or Powerful : Insuring Government Has Adequate Financing to Function : HR 2669. (Student loans reconciliation) Procedural question on whether to make the tax credit for adoption permanent/On the motion (2007 senate Roll Call 268)
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HR 2669. (Student loans reconciliation) Procedural question on whether to make the tax credit for adoption permanent/On the motion
senate Roll Call 268     Jul 19, 2007
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This vote was on whether to allow an amendment by Jim DeMint, R-S.C., that would make permanent the adoption tax credit enacted as part of President Bush's 2001 tax cuts. The tax credit is set to expire in 2010. The amendment was offered to a measure that would overhaul student loans.

"There is nothing more important to the success of education than a good family," DeMint said. "Unfortunately, the current adoption tax credit is scheduled to sunset in 2010. If we don't make this tax relief permanent, adoption taxes will go up and many American families will not be able to afford the expenses associated with adoption, which are now between $10,000 and $25,000."

Mary Landrieu, D-La., complained that DeMint's amendment would cost too much money. She offered an amendment to DeMint's amendment that would have specified that Congress endorses the idea of permanently extending the adoption tax credit, provided that it also eliminates "wasteful spending, such as spending on unnecessary tax loopholes," in order to avoid increasing the deficit as a result.

"It is a very important tax credit, but if we are going to have it, we need to pay for it," Landrieu said. "The problem with [DeMint's] amendment is it is not paid for and it is going to jeopardize the underlying bill. So, yes, we do need to extend this tax permanently but not on this bill and not tonight, and we need to find a way to pay for it."

However, DeMint successfully used a procedural maneuver to kill Landrieu's amendment as not related (or "germane") enough to the underlying student loan bill.

Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., then used the same procedural maneuver to try to kill DeMint's amendment as not germane to the underlying bill. In some cases, when portions of a bill violate certain congressional rules, the bill can be quickly defeated with these procedural motions unless the Senate votes to waive the rule in question. One of these Senate rules requires that amendments be related to the subject of the bill itself. When Kennedy moved to have the amendment defeated on the grounds that it was not "germane" enough to the underlying bill, DeMint called a vote on waiving that Senate rule for his amendment, which is what this vote was on.

Though the vote tied at 48-48, the waiver motion failed because this particular type of vote requires a three-fifths majority of the Senate (60 votes) in order for it to be considered approved. All but one Republican present voted for the waiver motion (George Voinovich of Ohio). All but two Democrats present (Evan Bayh of Indiana and Ben Nelson of Nebraska) voted against the waiver motion. The waiver vote was unsuccessful, thus DeMint's amendment that would have made President Bush's 2001 adoption tax credit permanent was killed by the procedural motion.

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