This was a vote on an amendment offered by Rep. Jordan (R-OH) which would have reduced the total amount in H.R. 3288, the bill providing fiscal year 2010 funding for the Departments of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and Transportation by $20 billion. The $20 billion dollar reduction would have put the funding for those departments at the same levels they were at in the 2008 fiscal year.
Rep. Jordan began his remarks in support of his amendment by noting that the federal deficit had just reached $1 trillion, “and some estimate that this could go as high as $2 trillion.” He asked, rhetorically, “(H)ow bad does it have to get before we can simply say this: Let's just hold the line. Let's just quit making the problem worse.” Jordan claimed “this is not a cut.” He described his amendment as taking the “first step in trying to get our fiscal house in order” by going “back to where we were just 9 1/2 months ago (when the government was operating on the funding in the 2008 fiscal year HUD and Transportation bill), before the stimulus, before the omnibus, before all this ridiculous spending got a hold of Congress . . . After all, there are all kinds of families, all kind of small business owners, all kinds of American taxpayers who are doing just that.”
Rep. Olver (D-MA), the chairman of the Appropriations Committee subcommittee that developed H.R. 3288, led the opposition to the amendment. Referring to the fact that Jordan was proposing going back to fiscal year 2008 figures, Olver said “(W)e're talking about a (fiscal) year starting several months from now and going forward a year, and he's talking about 9 1/2 months ago being the end of that fiscal year, the end of the 2008 fiscal year, and that was funding the year prior to that. So it is really taking a step backward 2 years in the funding level.” He also argued: “There is no direction in the amendment, itself. It merely says cut the total expenditure by $20 billion, which is one-sixth of the sum total of the legislation.”
Olver referenced the recent weak economic conditions and argued that “taking $20 billion out of this appropriation, then has the effect of cutting a huge number of programs by an average of 16 percent for the next fiscal year. It is an unsustainable number for the kinds of efforts that one needs to have in housing . . . . On the transportation side, the major point of growth is in the high-speed rail program (which) . . . creates jobs over a period of time in the building of that infrastructure.
The amendment was defeated by a vote of 145-287. One hundred and forty-one Republicans and four Democrats voted “aye”. Two hundred and fifty-four Democrats and thirty-three Republicans voted “nay”. As a result, no reduction was made in H.R. 3288 providing the 2010 fiscal year funding for the HUD and the Department of Transportation.