This was a vote on a resolution setting a time limit for debate and prohibiting amendments to legislation requiring federal agencies to determine which employees are eligible to telecommute (work from home). The bill also required those agencies to designate an official to supervise telecommuting programs for federal employees.
[The House first voted on this bill on May 6 under suspension of the rules. (Motions to suspend the rules limit time allowed for debate, and prohibit members from offering amendments. A two-thirds majority vote is required to approve the motion and pass a bill, rather than the usual majority.) While a majority of members supported the telecommuting bill, the measure did not receive a two-thirds majority vote required under suspension of the rules. Thus, Democratic leaders chose to bring the bill up again under a different process requiring only a simple majority vote for passage].
Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA) urged support for the resolution and the underlying bill: “With today's mobile technology, we can do better to ensure that Federal employees can effectively telecommute regardless of weather conditions….Telecommuting also helps to reduce traffic congestion.…Now, some may argue that telecommuting will just allow lazy employees to sit at home and pretend to work. That's simply not the case. This bill requires agencies to establish a telecommuting policy that authorizes employees to telecommute to the maximum amount possible only to the extent that it doesn't diminish employee performance or agency operations.”
Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-VA) accused the Democrats of supporting the bill only to help government employee unions (which are generally Democratic allies): “While government employees and their union handlers might be satisfied with the liberal Democrat jobs agenda, try asking the small business men forced to close their doors or the 7 million private business employees who've lost their jobs since the liberal Democrats took control of Congress in 2007 and want to get back to work. This is the wrong bill at the wrong time.”
The House agreed to this resolution by a vote of 238-180. 237 Democrats and 1 Republican voted “yea.” 171 Republicans and 9 Democrats voted “nay.” As a result, the House proceeded to formal floor debate on legislation requiring federal agencies to determine which employees are eligible to telecommute, and designating an official to supervise telecommuting programs.