This was a vote on an amendment offered by Rep. Neugebauer (R-TX) which would have reduced the total amount in H.R. 3288, the bill providing fiscal year 2010 funding for the Departments of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and Transportation by $13.5 billion. The resulting amount would have equaled the funding provided to those departments in the 2009 fiscal year.
Rep. Neugebauer began his remarks by noting that the Department of Transportation received more than $21 billion in the recent “rushed” legislation designed to stimulate the economy but that only eleven projects had been initiated. He said that his amendment is an acknowledgement that “(W)e were wrong. We thought we could spend this $21 billion. We needed to get it out immediately. We found out we can't, so we're going to give part of that money back. We're going to give $13 billion of it back.” Neugebauer argued that not taking any of the money back is effectively saying:”(Y)'all did such a bad job of not spending the $21 billion we gave you back in the Spring that we're going to reward you. We're going to give you another $21 billion of the taxpayers' money.” He then added: “(B)y the way, it's $21 billion we don't have.”
Rep. Olver (D-MA), the chairman of the Appropriations Committee subcommittee that developed H.R. 3288, led the opposition to what he described as a “slash and burn” amendment. He argued that it contained “no direction as to how one might do it, and I'm left with the question of what kinds of impacts this one might have.”
Olver then went on to argue that those impacts would be negative on transit programs “that move people around in as efficient a way as they possibly can.” He also argued that the reductions in the amendment would have a negative effect “on all of our air traffic safety programs, on all of the efforts that we have to make in order to have our airports and our air traffic controller systems function appropriately.” Neugebauer disputed the claim that these impacts would occur. He said: “They're not even going to spend this $21 billion probably in the next fiscal year. They've spent only 11 percent since the inception of this bill. So we're not cutting anything.”
The amendment was defeated by a vote of 166-267. One hundred and fifty-two Republicans and fourteen Democrats voted “aye”. Two hundred and forty-four Democrats and twenty-three Republicans voted “nay”. As a result, no reduction was made in H.R. 3288 providing the 2010 fiscal year funding for the HUD and the Department of Transportation.