What: All Issues : Housing : Funding for Housing Programs : Fiscal 2007 continuing resolution to fund the federal government (H. J. Res. 20)/Motion to recommit to the Appropriations Committee with instructions to cut more than $500 million for various projects and increase funding by $275 million for military housing, $50 million to combat illicit drugs, $86 million for military construction and family housing and direct $178 million toward deficit reduction (2007 house Roll Call 71)
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Fiscal 2007 continuing resolution to fund the federal government (H. J. Res. 20)/Motion to recommit to the Appropriations Committee with instructions to cut more than $500 million for various projects and increase funding by $275 million for military housing, $50 million to combat illicit drugs, $86 million for military construction and family housing and direct $178 million toward deficit reduction
house Roll Call 71     Jan 31, 2007
Progressive Position:
Nay
Progressive Result:
Win

This vote represented Republicans' only chance to amend legislation to fund the federal government through fiscal 2007, which ends Sept. 30.

The resolution would provide $463.5 billion for the programs covered by the nine outstanding fiscal 2007 appropriations bills that Republicans left unfinished at the end of their tenure in the leadership of both chambers of Congress in January 2007.

Since the majority Democrats prevented Republicans from amending the bill (see Roll Call 67), this motion to recommit with instructions was the minority's only chance to make substantive changes to the bill before a final up-or-down vote on the measure.

Republicans were particularly incensed that the Democrat-drafted bill contained what they believed to be earmarks - individual spending items that benefit a particular locale, interest or organization - in violation of House rules (see Roll Call 70). The motion to recommit was the Republicans' way of trying to remove some of those earmarks and legislative priorities with which they disagreed.

In outlining his motion to recommit, Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.) said in addition to the problem with earmarks, "a number of critical programs affecting new law enforcement, military construction and military families have been shortchanged." In order to rectify those perceived errors, the motion to recommit would send the bill back to the Appropriations Committee with instructions to eliminate, in Lewis' words, over $500 million in earmarks and "other unnecessary spending," and instead use those funds to "fund the Drug Enforcement Administration's effort to combat methamphetamines and other illicit drugs, restore critically needed funds to military construction and military family housing accounts, and reduce the federal deficit."

Appropriations Chairman David Obey (D-Wis.) countered that the motion was simply "nitpicking," and would effectively deny the ability to provide additional funds for veterans health care, education and veterans housing.

"I would also say that in a new found and sudden burst of false piety, we are now being chastised because we did not reach back and eliminate" a so-called earmark that was actually approved under Republicans two years ago, Obey said, adding that it was Lewis who chaired the Appropriations Committee at that time.

"I don't mind clearing up the mistakes for last year, of the gentleman, I do mind being asked to go back 2 years to clear up your mistakes," Obey said.

In the end, the House rejected the motion to recommit on a near-unanimous party-line vote. Only one Republican voted against it, and two Democrats crossed party lines to support the measure. Thus, on a 196 to 228 vote, a Republican effort to send a fiscal 2007 spending bill back to committee with instructions to cut various Democratic-supported projects and increase funding for military housing, combating illicit drugs, military construction and debit reduction failed and the spending bill went forward without amendment.

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