This was a vote on a motion to recommit with instructions by Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) that would have had the effect of reducing the annual authorized funding level for an estuary restoration program to $35 million. The underlying bill authorized $50 million annually for the program through 2016.
A motion to recommit with instructions is the minority's last chance to make substantive changes to a bill before a final up-or-down vote on the measure. If successful, the motion sends the legislation back to committee with instructions to amend the legislation as specified.
Jordan urged the House to support his motion to recommit: " Discipline is the quality we need in this Congress today. The easiest thing to do in the world is to spend money, particularly someone else's money. Really simply, this amendment says: Let's have the discipline to say ``no'' to spending. Let's have the discipline to say let's do the right thing today. Let's not do the convenient thing. Let's hold the line on spending and treat taxpayers with a little respect on this day of all days. Treat them with a little respect."
Rep. James Oberstar (D-MN) urged the House to reject Jordan's motion to recommit: "I am sorry that the gentleman doesn't understand that a great many people do understand what an estuary is. Three-fourths of our population live along areas that are designated as estuaries. Estuaries, the meeting place of fresh and salt water--where new forms of life are created, where new forms of fish and aquatic plants are created--are the richest places on Earth for the creation of maritime life. Estuaries are the common heritage of all Americans. There is a national interest in their protection and in their enhancement."
The House rejected Jordan's motion to recommit by a vote of 192-214. All 164 Republicans present and 28 Democrats voted "yea." 214 Democrats voted "nay. As a result, the House rejected an amendment to the estuary bill that would have reduced the annual authorized funding level for an estuary restoration program to $35 million from $50 million.