What: All Issues : Fair Taxation : Tax Breaks for the Rich : S Con Res 21. (Fiscal 2008 budget resolution). Cornyn of Texas amendment that would create a point of order/On agreeing to the amendment (2007 senate Roll Call 84)
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S Con Res 21. (Fiscal 2008 budget resolution). Cornyn of Texas amendment that would create a point of order/On agreeing to the amendment
senate Roll Call 84     Mar 21, 2007
Progressive Position:
Nay
Progressive Result:
Loss

This vote was on an amendment by John Cornyn, R-Texas, that would have created a new "point of order" against any bill that increased the rate of federal income taxes. A "point of order" is a procedural motion senators may bring up when they feel a bill, amendment or other motion violates certain rules set out by Congress to govern itself. Unless senators vote to waive those rules -- which usually takes 60 votes, a large margin in the Senate -- the bill, amendment or motion in question can be killed by the point of order.

Cornyn's amendment was offered to the budget resolution that serves as the blueprint for Congress' budget priorities in fiscal 2008. The budget resolution sets overall spending targets for the Appropriations committees and outlines other budget rules.

Cornyn's amendment would have created a new point of order against any bill, resolution, amendment, motion or conference report that included a hike in federal income tax rates.

Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad, D-N.D., gave his support to the amendment, even though he said he was "conflicted" about it.

"I find myself conflicted on this amendment in the following way: On the one hand, I don't think it is particularly good tax policy to establish points of order on this matter. So as a matter of tax policy, I don't think it is a particularly good idea. On the other hand, I don't want to leave the impression that this resolution contemplates an increase in tax rates because it doesn't."

After that short comment, the Senate voted on the amendment, adopting it 63-35. Though Democrats allowed the amendment to go forward (and 15 voted for it), feeling it at the least did no harm, 32 Democrats voted against it. This number included the most progressive members of the Senate, as well as members of the Senate Appropriations Committee (who typically zealously guard their budgetary turf) such as Robert Byrd, D-W.Va. Thus, the amendment creating a point of order against any legislation that increased the rate of federal income taxes was adopted, and the budget resolution went forward.

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