What: All Issues : Housing : Funding for Housing Programs : Fiscal 2007 continuing resolution to fund the federal government (H. J. Res. 20)/Question of consideration (2007 house Roll Call 68)
 Who: All Members
[POW!]
 

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Fiscal 2007 continuing resolution to fund the federal government (H. J. Res. 20)/Question of consideration
house Roll Call 68     Jan 31, 2007
Progressive Position:
Yea
Progressive Result:
Win

This vote was on a procedural motion to a bill to fund the government through the end of the 2007 fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30. Raising the question of consideration is literally asking whether the House will take up a particular measure and, as in this case, usually represents a protest motion by the minority. Such procedural motions serve to tie up the business of the House and prevent the majority from getting through its agenda quickly.

Republicans bitterly protested because the Democratic majority passed rules for debate that prevented amendment (see Roll Call 67). Republicans said that was egregious because the continuing resolution (CR) amounted to an omnibus appropriations bill, in which they had very little say. An omnibus is a number of spending bills together in one piece of legislation for expediency. Typically, CRs are one-page documents that just carry forward last year's funding levels into the next fiscal year with mere inflationary adjustments. This legislation carried 137 pages of budgetary changes to veterans' benefits, health care and education.

The appropriations bill was necessary at all only because the Republicans did not finish the mandatory spending bills at the end of their tenure in the leadership of both chambers of Congress in January 2007 and instead passed a continuing resolution to fund the government until Feb. 15. Rather than pass individual bills for the nine leftover fiscal 2007 spending measures, the new Democratic leadership chose to roll them all into one bill. Without another continuing resolution to fund the departments and agencies, a large portion of the federal government would have to shut down.

The continuing resolution would provide $463.5 billion for the programs covered by the nine outstanding fiscal 2007 appropriations bills.

Democrats defended their approach by pointing out that continuing resolutions typically are passed without the opportunity for amendment. Republicans countered that was only true when they were true continuing resolutions, unlike this legislation that included many changes over fiscal 2006 funding levels.

Appropriations Chairman David Obey (D-Wis.) said Republicans abdicated their responsibilities by leaving the fiscal 2007 spending bills to the next Congress. "You forfeited any right to squawk about how we cleaned up your mess," he said.

Questions of consideration are not debatable under House rules, thus no lawmaker spoke on either side of the issue. Nonetheless, the House split among predictable party lines. Democrats were unanimous in their support for considering the bill, and only four Republicans crossed party lines to join them in affirming that the legislation should be taken up. By a vote of 222 to 179, the House moved to consider a spending bill to fund the federal government for the remainder of the 2007 fiscal year, including budgetary increases over the 2006 spending in the areas of health care, education and veterans' benefits.

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