Providing for consideration (H. Res. 403) of the fiscal 2008 Defense authorization (H.R. 1585)/On adoption of the rules package
house Roll Call 352 May 16, 2007
This was the final vote on the rules for debate on a bill to authorize $648.6 billion in funding, including $141.6 billion in "emergency" spending for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, for the Defense Department for fiscal 2008.
The resolution outlined the rules for debate for the legislation, including how much floor time would be granted to each side and which amendments would be considered in order. The resolution is thus commonly known as the rules package.
Republicans opposed the rules package because of their opposition to the so-called "structured rule" proposed by the Democratic-controlled Rules Committee. Under a structured rule, only amendments pre-approved by the Rules Committee can be offered on the House floor. In this case, the rule made in order a total of 50 amendments.
Rep. Doc Hastings (R-Wash.) objected to the rule because of the many Republican amendments the Rules Committee didn't allow to be considered by the full House. He also objected to the procedures the majority Democrats used leading up to the vote.
"I am deeply troubled that for the first time, the first time during my tenure in Congress and tenure on the Rules Committee, Members of Congress reported that they were actually prohibited, prohibited from submitting an amendment to the committee after the deadline," Hastings said.
Hastings was referring to what are known as second-degree amendments, which are basically amendments to amendments.
"These types of amendments by definition cannot be drafted until the text of the original amendment has been seen," Hastings continued. "So let me be clear. The Democrat leadership actually denied Members of Congress the opportunity to have their amendments presented and then denied by the committee because typically amendments that are offered late are denied. But they didn't even have the opportunity to submit them late."
Hastings added that he was "disappointed that the Democrat majority has chosen to go out of its way to be inconsistent and change the rules and definitions, leaving Members of Congress questioning what rules and norms they should follow."
Rep. Kathy Castor (D-Fla.) responded: "I thank my colleague from the Rules Committee because he is aware, and anyone who attended that committee meeting would be aware, that certain second-degree amendments were in fact offered by the other side of the aisle and were debated and voted upon in committee."
The House adopted the rules for debate on an almost completely party-line vote. All but three Republicans voted against the rules package, and Democrats were unanimous in their support. Thus, by a vote of 229 to 194, the House approved the rules for consideration for legislation to authorize $648.6 billion for Defense programs for fiscal 2008, and the House proceeded to debate on amendments approved by the Rules Committee.
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