What: All Issues : Making Government Work for Everyone, Not Just the Rich or Powerful : Adequate Government Funding for a Broad Range of Human Needs : Fiscal 2008 budget resolution (S. Con. Res. 21)/On agreeing to the conference report (2007 house Roll Call 377)
 Who: All Members : New York : Gillibrand, Kirsten
Fiscal 2008 budget resolution (S. Con. Res. 21)/On agreeing to the conference report
house Roll Call 377     May 17, 2007
Member's Vote
or not)
Progressive Position
Progressive Result
(win or loss)

This was the final vote on the fiscal 2008 budget resolution. The $3 trillion measure included almost $1 trillion in what is known as discretionary spending (not including Social Security and Medicare, among other "non-discretionary" programs). The total price tag total also included $143 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, although most of the funding for those conflicts has thus far come in "emergency" appropriations not outlined in any budget plan.

The budget resolution - the first to be authored by Democrats since 1995 - projected a deficit of $252 billion for fiscal 2008, which would gradually turn into a surplus of $41 billion by fiscal 2012. The budget resolution sets to accomplish that mostly through letting most of President Bush's tax cuts expire, while maintaining -- and even increasing -- spending in health care, education, veterans' programs and housing.

The budget resolution forms the blueprint for spending decisions for the next five years. It is passed by the House and Senate but is not signed by the president nor does it have the force of law. (That is why it is referred to as a resolution and not a bill.) Nonetheless, the ability of both chambers to agree on budget priorities is considered a prerequisite to responsible spending and good governance as it gives the 12 spending panels on the Appropriations Committee guidance and reflects consensus on how the multi-trillion dollar pie of federal spending should be sliced.

At this point in its legislative lifecycle, the budget resolution had already been passed by both chambers and then made it out of conference committee. If the two chambers pass differing versions of a measure, what's known as a conference committee is convened to hammer out the differences between the two resolutions and draft a consensus measure, which then must in turn be approved by both the House and Senate. This vote was on setting the rules for debate for the House's consideration of that conference committee report.

Democrats lauded the budget resolution as the first step towards turning around what they deemed were the fiscal and moral improprieties of the first six years of Bush's presidency, most of which time the Republicans controlled both chambers of Congress.

Republicans lambasted the plan as evidence of Democrats' fiscal irresponsibility and accused Democrats of a backdoor tax increase.

Nonetheless, the resolution was adopted on a near party-line vote. Republicans were unanimous in their opposition, and Democrats were able to pass the measure despite defection from 13 lawmakers among their ranks. By a final vote of 214 to 209, the fiscal 2008 budget resolution was thus passed by the House and sent to the Senate, were it was adopted the same day.

Issue Areas:
Key: Y=Yea, N=Nay, W=Win, L=Loss