(H. R. 2996) On the Jordan of Ohio amendment, which would have reduced the overall spending in the bill providing funding for the 2010 fiscal year for the Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies back to the fiscal year 2008 level.
This was a vote on the Jordan (R-OH) amendment to H.R. 2996, the bill providing fiscal year 2010 funding for the Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies. The Jordan Amendment would have reduced the overall spending in the bill by $5.75 billion, which would have put the amount at the equivalent fiscal year 2008 level.
Rep. Jordan began his remarks in support of the amendment by saying that “we are spending so much that over the next decade . . . we are going to take the national debt, which is now $11 trillion . . . to take it to $23 trillion . . . Spending is certainly out of control.” He then said that his amendment would do “what all kinds of taxpayers across this country are doing, what all kinds of small business owners across this country are doing: let's live on exactly what we were functioning on, what the Federal Government was functioning on just . . . 9 months ago . . . .” He noted that the 2010 funding levels in H.R. 2996 increase spending “by 21 percent over what we were functioning on just 9 months ago” and there are unemployed Americans “who are living on something less than what they were living on just 9 months ago. But somehow the federal government can never get by on less. It is only the families and taxpayers who have to do that.”
Jordan also argued that the way Congress is spending, it will “never have to prioritize . . . we (will) never have to decide which programs make sense, which ones should be eliminated, which ones are redundant . . . .” Jordan also said that Congress should practice discipline, which he defined as “doing what you don't want to do when you don't want to do it.” He referred to his amendment as “a modest first step.”
Rep. Dicks (D-WA), the chairman of the Appropriations Committee subcommittee that developed H.R. 2996, characterized the amendment as a “mindless, meat ax approach” and “irresponsible”. He argued that it “makes no choices based on need or the merits of the programs and “would shortchange America's vitally needed environmental conservation and Native American programs (and) . . . would have serious consequences on health, jobs, energy programs, young people and wild places.” Dicks gave as an example the fact that it would reduce funding for the Environmental Protection Agency by $1.8 billion, which “would seriously impair environmental protection, science programs, and hazardous area remediation.”
Dicks also said that his subcommittee “held countless oversight hearings. We made $300 million in cuts.” He noted that the Interior Department had been reduced by 16 percent under the previous Bush Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency by 29 percent, the Forest Service by 35 percent, and that the spending levels in the bill “will help bring back these important programs (including) . . . health care in the Indian Health Service.”
Dicks further argued: “(M)any of the people on the other side of the aisle have no trust in the Congress, but this budget came from the administration (that) . . . looked at all these programs, and every earmark we had in this bill was vetted by the administration. So this has been carefully put together.”
The amendment was defeated by a vote of 169-259. One hundred and fifty-five Republicans and fourteen Democrats vote “aye”. Two hundred and thirty-nine Democrats and twenty Republicans voted “nay”. As a result, the total amount in the bill providing funding for the 2010 fiscal year for the Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies 2010 was not reduced.