The House and Senate had passed differing versions of H.R. 3183, the bill providing fiscal year 2010 funding for energy and water programs. As is usual procedure in such situations, a conference was held between representatives of the two bodies to develop a final version of the bill. This was a vote on passage of the final version of the bill that was negotiated in the conference. It contained $35.5 billion in funding, which represented an increase of $204 million over the corresponding fiscal year 2009 level.
Rep. Pastor (D-AZ) was leading the support for the bill. He said the programs it funded would “contribute to solving many of the most pressing challenges facing our country, including strengthening and maintaining our water infrastructure, advancing U.S. scientific leadership, combating global climate change with renewable and cleaner energy technologies, and providing security against nuclear threats.
Certain members opposed the legislation because of specific provisions. Rep. Scalise (R-LA) opposed it because, he said, provisions in the House-passed version that “would have directed the Corps of Engineers to pursue a much safer level of flood protection for the New Orleans region” had been removed in the final version. Rep. Deal (R-GA) and Rep. Scott (D-GA) opposed the final version of the bill because it included language from the Senate version that directed the Corps of Engineers to calculate certain water flows in Georgia. Rep. Deal said this will “inject (the Corps of Engineers) into a controversy that has been going on for decades in the federal courts . . . (and) to spend Corps dollars (in this way) . . . is a true waste of federal money.”
Many Republicans opposed passage of the measure because of its funding levels. Rep. Sessions (R-TX) said “the increase in spending over last year's level and destructive initiatives that the Democrat majority continues to pursue . . . have only killed jobs and led to record deficits . . . The fiscal year 2010 energy and water appropriation conference report . . .is . . . above last year's level, and this is in addition to the $58.7 billion provided in (the previously-passed legislation designed to deal with the economic downturn in the economy) . . . this bill does not represent any commitment to fiscal sustainability.”
The legislation passed by a vote of 308-114. Two hundred and thirty-eight Democrats and seventy Republicans voted “aye”. One hundred and two Republicans and twelve Democrats voted “nay”. As a result the House approved and sent on to the Senate the final version of the fiscal year 2010 energy and water development funding bill.