What: All Issues : Making Government Work for Everyone, Not Just the Rich or Powerful : Protecting Rights of Congressional Minorities : H Res. 458. Fiscal 2004 Appropriations/Vote on a Resolution Which Would Waive the Two-Thirds Vote Requirement for Same-Day Consideration of Any Rule Completed on November 21, 2003 Which Related to an Appropriations Bill. (2003 house Roll Call 662)
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H Res. 458. Fiscal 2004 Appropriations/Vote on a Resolution Which Would Waive the Two-Thirds Vote Requirement for Same-Day Consideration of Any Rule Completed on November 21, 2003 Which Related to an Appropriations Bill.
house Roll Call 662     Nov 21, 2003
Progressive Position:
Nay
Progressive Result:
Loss

Before legislation can be considered in the House, agreement must be reached on a rule governing debate on a particular bill (rules are drafted by the House Rules Committee, a de facto arm of the majority party leadership). Moreover, according to procedural rules in the House, passage of a rule on the same day that the rule was reported from the Rules Committee requires a two-thirds majority vote rather than a simple majority vote. (The two-thirds requirement for same-day consideration of a rule is intended to insure that lawmakers have ample time to review a particular piece of legislation prior to House floor debate.) In a effort to circumvent the two-thirds requirement for same day consideration of a rule, Republicans offered a resolution which would waive the two-thirds majority requirement on any rule brought to the floor on November 21, 2003 which related to appropriations legislation. Progressives characterized the resolution as yet another attempt by Republicans to violate both the rules of the House and the rights of minority Democrats (see also House vote 590 for other examples of what Democrats have characterized as strong-arm, or even unlawful, tactics by the Republican leadership). Progressives argued that holding House floor debate on the same day that the appropriations legislation was reported from the House Rules Committee provided them with an insufficient amount of time to read the legislation and understand its contents (lawmakers are normally provided three days to examine a completed piece of legislation before it is considered on the House floor). Conservatives supported the resolution and argued that the end of the congressional session in two weeks justified their efforts to expedite action on appropriations legislation. On a party line vote of 224-203, the resolution to allow a simple majority vote in favor of a same-day rule governing debate on appropriations legislation was adopted.

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