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 would also have required those agencies to designate an official to supervise telecommuting programs for federal employees. The House first passed this “telework” bill on July 14, 2010, after Republicans successfully amended the measure to prohibit federal employees from engaging in union or collective bargaining activities while telecommuting. The Senate then took up that bill, and removed the anti-union language before passing the measure. This vote was on the Senate-passed legislation (which did not include the restriction on union activities).
Rep. Michael Arcuri (D-NY) urged support for the resolution and the underlying legislation: “I have often heard my colleagues on the other side of the aisle speak eloquently of how much more efficient the private sector is and about the need for government to take more cues from business. Telecommuting could not be a better example of this. There is no reason that the federal government should not make full use of the perpetual advances being made in mobile technologies to ensure that our government's workforce functions as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible.”
Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) sharply criticized the underlying bill, arguing it was part of a larger agenda to grow the size of the federal government: “The liberal Democrat elites have found the solution that has evaded them for so long. It is not to keep tax rates for small businesses from rising. It is not to look at ways to cut spending so that more capital is available to the private sector. It is not pushing for improved trade agreements that will increase exports and help restore our balance of trade. It is not to shrink the size and number of Federal regulations that are slowing job creation in the private sector. No. Madam Speaker and ladies and gentlemen, they bring us an opportunity to reinvigorate America's strength by spending $30 million more to make it easier for Federal employees to work from home.” [The Congressional Budget Office estimated that the cost of implementing this telework legislation would be approximately $30 million over five years.]
The House agreed to this resolution by a vote of 235-171. 234 Democrats and 1 Republican voted “yea.” 167 Republicans and 4 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 (work from home).