This was a vote on a motion to recommit that would have increased funding for rail and bus transportation security measures by $75 million—but cut funding for a planned research facility (known as the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility, or NBAF) that was intended for the study of diseases which pose a threat to U.S. animal agriculture and public health. A motion to recommit with instructions is the minority's opportunity to torpedo or significantly change a bill before a final up-or-down vote on the measure. This motion to recommit was offered to legislation authorizing annual funding for Homeland Security Department (DHS) programs.
Rep. Tim Bishop (D-NY) urged support for this motion to recommit: “While airline security upgrades over the past 10 years can help prevent another 9/11, we still face an evolving threat to multiple modes of transportation. In fact, trips by rail exceed air travel by 18 times. Yet air travel receives over 200 times more federal security funding per passenger than rail….While DHS insists that a new billion-dollar animal disease research lab [NBAF] in the heart both of cattle country and tornado alley [in Manhattan, Kansas] is completely safe, both the GAO [Government Accountability Office] and the National Academy of Sciences have found many faults in safety…We have much higher homeland security priorities than beginning a new billion-dollar facility that will replicate many of the existing functions already conducted at our federal labs.”
Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-AL) opposed the motion to recommit: “…This [underlying Homeland Security] bill is about priorities, fiscal discipline priorities as our nation grapples with a genuine budget crisis, and security priorities in the aftermath of Osama bin Laden's death and as we approach the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. This bill includes robust spending reductions on bureaucracy and on programs that are not producing, cutting waste, reducing spending, and instilling genuine budget discipline….the gentleman's [Bishop’s] motion is simply a political ploy at the end of an open process on a bill that delivers the nation's spending restraints and robust security that our nation needs….It's time to deliver fiscal discipline, and it's time to deliver robust security. The American people are demanding no less.”
The House rejected this motion to recommit by a vote of 187-234. Voting “yea” were 186 Democrats and 1 Republican. 233 Republicans and 1 Democrat voted “nay.” As a result, the House rejected an amendment that would have increased funding for rail and bus transportation security measures by $75 million—but cut funding for a planned research facility that was intended for the study of diseases which pose a threat to U.S. animal agriculture and public health.