What: All Issues : Making Government Work for Everyone, Not Just the Rich or Powerful : Protecting Rights of Congressional Minorities : H.R. 2800. Fiscal 2004 Foreign Operations Appropriations/Vote to Grant the Minority Party More Leeway in Offering Amendments and Debating Provisions in the Bill. (2003 house Roll Call 423)
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H.R. 2800. Fiscal 2004 Foreign Operations Appropriations/Vote to Grant the Minority Party More Leeway in Offering Amendments and Debating Provisions in the Bill.
house Roll Call 423     Jul 23, 2003
Progressive Position:
Yea
Progressive Result:
Loss

High levels of partisanship have been a major feature of legislative politics in the 107th Congress. Both House and Senate Democrats (both in the minority party) have argued that Republican leaders in Congress have prevented meaningful debate on a host of issues ranging from the creation of the new Department of Homeland Security to extending the child tax credit to low income families. At issue here is another piece of legislation in which debate on the floor of the House was excessively restricted. Under the rules of debate drafted by the House Rules Committee-in essence an arm of the majority party leadership-the 2004 Foreign Operations Appropriations bill was to be considered by the "Committee of the Whole" (the Committee of the Whole includes at least 100 House members who debate legislation on the House floor according to more restrictive rules of debate in committee). As a general rule, the procedural powers granted to minority party members in the Committee of the Whole-their ability to offer amendments, debate a measure at length, or send the legislation back to committee-are severely restricted relative to their power during debate when they are constituted in their capacity as the full House rather than in their capacity as the Committee on the Whole. On this vote, Congresswoman DeLauro (D-CT) motioned to rise from the Committee on the Whole. Progressives voted in favor of the motion to rise as a way to liberalize floor debate on the underlying appropriations bill. Specifically, Progressives wanted the opportunity to debate an amendment drafted by Congresswoman Lowey (D-NY) which, if passed, would have fully funded President Bush's Global AIDS Initiative (under the current rules of debate, Lowey's amendment was not allowed to be considered on the House floor). In his 2003 State of the Union Address, President Bush pledged to contribute $3 billion in each of the next five years to combat the AIDS pandemic. The underlying spending bill, however, included only $2 billion of the president's $3 billion commitment to fight AIDS, a funding deficiency which Progressives hoped to correct though passage of Lowey's amendment. Despite support from Progressives, the motion to rise was defeated 84-318 and the restrictive rules of debate on the 2004 Foreign Operations Appropriations bill remained intact.

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