What: All Issues : Education, Humanities, & the Arts : (H.R. 3221) On the McMorris Rodgers of Washington amendment that would have prevented areas that received school construction funds in the economic stimulus package from receiving funds authorized by a new federal school construction program (2009 house Roll Call 711)
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(H.R. 3221) On the McMorris Rodgers of Washington amendment that would have prevented areas that received school construction funds in the economic stimulus package from receiving funds authorized by a new federal school construction program
house Roll Call 711     Sep 17, 2009
Progressive Position:
Nay
Progressive Result:
Win

This was a vote on an amendment offered by Rep. McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) that would have prevented areas that received school construction funds in the economic stimulus package from receiving funds authorized by a new federal school construction program. H.R.3221, the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2009, created a new multi-billion dollar federal construction programs for elementary and secondary schools. H.R. 3221 also created a new construction program for community colleges: The bill already had a provision imposing a limitation on that new construction funding going to community colleges in areas that received stimulus funding.

Rep. McMorris Rodgers noted that: “(W)e just passed $53 billion in the stimulus package that includes funding made available for school construction”. She said the amendment was based on the idea that “once secure funds have been directed to one area for construction and repair, responsible governance tells us that any remaining funds should go to those areas that have not yet received the funding but have a demonstrated need.” 

Rep. George Miller (D-CA), who was leading support for H.R. 3221, opposed the amendment. The reason he gave was that “the record is starting to develop that very few if any of the school districts were able to use those (stimulus) funds for construction because . . . of the cuts that took place in almost every state across the country.” He said that the funds that school districts received from the stimulus package “have been used to try to mitigate the firing of teachers, to continue to try to develop a reasonable class size, and (to meet) all of the other costs (of) . . . local school districts (which) were really very hard hit . . . from the downturn in local revenues (and) in state revenues.”   

Miller concluded his remarks by saying that “opposition to this amendment is important so that these school districts can receive these funds to build clean, modern, and energy-efficient facilities.”

The amendment was defeated by a vote of 167-251. One hundred and sixty-four Republicans and three Democrats voted “aye”. Two hundred and forty-five Democrats and six Republican voted “nay”. As a result, no restrictions were placed on the awarding of money authorized by the new federal K-12 school construction program to those areas that had received school construction funds in the economic stimulus package.

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