What: All Issues : Making Government Work for Everyone, Not Just the Rich or Powerful : Infrastructure Funding : (H.R. 3183) On the Blackburn of Tennessee amendment that would have made a 5% across-the-board cut in all discretionary amounts in the bill providing fiscal year 2010 funds for energy and water development (2009 house Roll Call 580)
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(H.R. 3183) On the Blackburn of Tennessee amendment that would have made a 5% across-the-board cut in all discretionary amounts in the bill providing fiscal year 2010 funds for energy and water development
house Roll Call 580     Jul 17, 2009
Progressive Position:
Nay
Progressive Result:
Win

This was a vote on an amendment offered by Rep. Blackburn (R-TN) to the bill providing fiscal year 2010 funds for energy and water development. The amendment would have made a 5% across-the-board cut in all discretionary amounts in the bill, which would have reduced its total amount by $1.7 billion. Rep. Blackburn noted in her remarks that federal spending on energy and water programs increased by 183% between 2006 and 2009, with the programs funded by the 2010 bill having already $51 billion in stimulus funding and $7 billion in supplemental funding in fiscal year 2009.

Blackburn also justified the proposed cut by noting that, in 2009, Congress had already generated a trillion-dollar deficit, which she said “represents the height of fiscal irresponsibility and is absolutely unconscionable.” She concluded her remarks by saying that she finds it “absolutely incomprehensible that this body is not willing to turn to the bureaucrats that line all of these streets and these granite buildings and say, save a nickel out of the dollar.”

Rep. Pastor (D-AZ), a member of the Appropriations Committee subcommittee that had developed H.R. 3183 was leading the support for the measure. He opposed the amendment and responded to Rep. Blackburn by claiming that the 2010 bill meets national priorities, “supports fiscal responsibility”, was only “slightly above last year's 2009 funding”, and was $1 billion below the President's request. Pastor described the funding levels in the bill as key parts “of ongoing efforts to meet the infrastructure needs of the country; and after years of neglect, addressing the inadequacies of our national energy policies, we are trying to do it with this bill. Pastor argued that a 5% reduction would “undercut a number of priorities at a time when we can ill afford to reduce them further.”

Rep. Frelinghuysen was the Ranking Republican on the Appropriations Committee subcommittee that had developed H.R. 3183. He described the figures agreed upon in the bill as “well balanced” and developed “in a bipartisan way.” Frelinghuysen added that “I worry about indiscriminate cuts . . . that would be pretty devastating.”

The amendment was defeated by a vote of167-259. One hundred and forty-seven Republicans and twenty Democrats voted “aye”. Two hundred and thirty-four Democrats and twenty-five Republicans voted “nay”. As a result, no across-the-board reduction was made in the energy and water development funding bill.

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