The 2010 fiscal year budget, among other things, provided for a middle class tax cut and increased funding for a number of social programs in the areas of health care, education and clean energy. It also included “reconciliation” language, which allowed the Senate to consider health care reform without giving the minority the ability to filibuster it. This vote was on the resolution or “rule” setting the terms for debate of the fiscal year 2010 budget.
Rep. McGovern (D-MA), who was leading the effort on behalf of the rule, described the proposed budget as “a clean break from the past (and) a roadmap for economic recovery . . . .” He claimed that it would “create jobs, support working families, strengthen our national defense and renew America's global leadership.” McGovern also said it would allow the U.S, to take “the first critical steps to . . . creating good jobs (and) . . . altering the Tax Code . . . (to) reduce the tax burden on the middle class . . . .” He claimed that the Republicans believe “we should reduce taxes for the very wealthiest. It's a simple difference in philosophy.”
McGovern defended the reconciliation language in the resolution that would prevent a Senate filibuster on health care reform. He suggested that the removal of the ability of Republicans to filibuster health care reform is the only way that legislation to implement reform can be passed. McGovern also claimed that health care reform is needed “not just to improve health care quality and improve coverage, but to reduce the crushing burden of health care costs on American businesses.”
Rep. Dreier (R-CA), who helped lead the opposition to the rule, argued “that Democrats have been saying that Republicans have no interest or desire to work with President Obama, that all we say is `no’. . . I have got to say that repeatedly we have come forward with alternatives, and we very much want to work in a bipartisan way. He pointed to two different Republican alternative budgets that were considered and rejected by the House during the consideration of its original version of the budget. House Minority Leader Boehner summarized the Republican alternatives as “better solutions (with) less spending, (with) less taxes and much less debt . . . .”
Dreier also argued that the Democratic budget “sets the stage for tax increases that we can't afford. It makes the fundamental mistake that led to our economic crisis in the first place--profligate, unaccountable and irresponsible behavior.” He then referred to the anti-filibuster reconciliation language it includes, and claimed that it “will allow the Democratic leadership to cram through massive health care legislation with little scrutiny and . . . zero bipartisanship.” He added “(I)t will also allow them to attach dramatic new energy taxes on every household in America in order to pay for their health care proposals,” which, he argued, would “expand government bureaucracy and tax the American people during an economic recession.”
The rule passed by a vote of 234-185. All two hundred and thirty-four “aye” votes were cast by Democrats. Eleven other Democrats joined all one hundred and seventy-four Republicans voted “nay”. As a result, the House was able to move to debate the fiscal year 2010 budget.