What: All Issues : Making Government Work for Everyone, Not Just the Rich or Powerful : Protecting Rights of Congressional Minorities : A Democratic-requested vote on a motion to send the $2.7 billion fiscal year 2005 legislative appropriations branch spending bill (H.R. 4755) back to its committee of origin, with instructions that the bill impose a $25,000 limit on the amount that any single committee can spend on postage during fiscal year 2005. (2004 house Roll Call 361)
 Who: All Members
[POW!]
 

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A Democratic-requested vote on a motion to send the $2.7 billion fiscal year 2005 legislative appropriations branch spending bill (H.R. 4755) back to its committee of origin, with instructions that the bill impose a $25,000 limit on the amount that any single committee can spend on postage during fiscal year 2005.
house Roll Call 361     Jul 12, 2004
Progressive Position:
Yea
Progressive Result:
Loss

Progressives failed 163-205 in their efforts to recommit the FY05 legislative appropriations branch spending bill (H.R. 4755) to its committee of origin. The largely bipartisan underlying $2.7 billion spending bill contains essentially non-controversial items funding the House of Representatives and all the various support agencies, including the Capitol Hill Police, the Architect of the Capitol, the Library of Congress, the Government Printing Office and the General Accounting Office. However, Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) during floor debate sought to have the spending bill recommitted, or sent back, to the House Committee on Appropriations, with instructions to include in the bill language imposing a $25,000 limit on the amount that any single committee can spend on postage during FY05. As with most motions to recommit, Sherman's motion failed mostly along party lines. But he argued that postage expenses have been going up at an extraordinary rate, with one House committee seeking, albeit unsuccessfully, $500,000 in postage just for the 108th Congress - a request representing a massive increase over what that committee had requested for the 107th Congress. Sherman suggested these funds would constitute a political "slush fund," from which committee chairs, currently all Republican, could draw in sending mail out to individual committee members' districts - either in the form of attacks or praise. "It is just around the corner," Sherman warned. "This is the one chance we have in this House to vote to draw the line." conservative critics of the amendment termed it "ridiculous," noting that there is "no way" postage accounts would ever reach into the millions. They also asserted that Republican chairmen need, from time to time, to send mail into Democratic districts for various bipartisan reasons, including apprising constituents of upcoming field hearings.

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