What: All Issues : Making Government Work for Everyone, Not Just the Rich or Powerful : Protecting Rights of Congressional Minorities : H. Res. 283. Homeland Security/Procedural Vote on Governing Rule for Bill Authorizing the Department of Homeland Security. (2005 house Roll Call 182)
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H. Res. 283. Homeland Security/Procedural Vote on Governing Rule for Bill Authorizing the Department of Homeland Security.
house Roll Call 182     May 18, 2005
Progressive Position:
Nay
Progressive Result:
Loss

In this vote, the House passed the governing rule for H.R. 1817, a bill to authorize the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. (A rule sets forth what amendments House members may offer, how much time each side will be permitted to speak, how long the debate can last, etc. A vote on the rule usually reflects existing support and opposition for the underlying legislation and/or loyalty to one's party.) This vote was a follow-up to vote number 181. The authorization process is the means by which Congress oversees the operation of a department or program. This authorization bill for the Department of Homeland Security was the first time Congress acted to renew the programs of that department since its inception. Democrats, including Progressives, readily acknowledged the need for a strong Department of Homeland Security and hailed a number of the bill's provisions, but expressed disappointment over the Republicans' issuance of a rule that would not permit Democrats to offer numerous amendments which Democrats deemed important. These included amendments to address areas where some representatives felt security was lacking, including specific amendments to require screening of cargo on passenger flights and of airplane workers, to improve rail safety, etc. Democrats also stressed the importance of congressional oversight, noting that "we are still faced with serious issues of accountability and trust in the management of the Department of Homeland Security." (Louise Slaughter (D-NY).) Republicans countered that the rule for this bill permitted a large number of amendments to be offered on the House floor: 25. They also insisted, with some agreement from Democrats, that the bill represented a good first start for oversight over the Department. In a defeat for Progressives, the House passed this rule by a vote of 284 to 124, with 63 Democrats crossing party lines to vote "yes" with the Republicans. Thus, the House proceeded to a debate on the first-ever authorization bill for the Department of Homeland Security. However, the debate would not include several amendments that Democrats felt were important to the functions of the Department.

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