What: All Issues : Fair Taxation : Tax Breaks for the Rich : HR 4775. 2002 Supplemental Appropriations/Vote to Curb President's Discretion in Determining the Salaries of FBI Employees. (2002 house Roll Call 200)
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HR 4775. 2002 Supplemental Appropriations/Vote to Curb President's Discretion in Determining the Salaries of FBI Employees.
house Roll Call 200     May 23, 2002
Progressive Position:
Yea
Progressive Result:
Loss

The September 11th attacks created a new demand in Congress for spending on the military and homeland security. The Republican leadership responded with a supplemental appropriations bill that provided extra funding for these areas in addition to assistance to New York City. But the leadership also saw the opportunity to use the popular bill to force through more controversial measures. They attached two items in particular that angered Progressives. The first capped spending for the upcoming 2003 appropriations at a level Progressives considered far too low. The second prevented a vote on raising the government's debt ceiling, something everyone agreed needed to be done: Progressives wanted a vote so they could highlight their belief that raising the ceiling was only necessary because of Bush tax cuts. To fight this bill, Obey (D-WI) prepared hundreds of procedural motions and minor amendments to slow down the process and force Republicans to relent on the two controversial provisions. The amendment at issue here struck language that established an emergency designation for extra money allocated to cover FBI salaries and expenses. With an emergency designation, this money would be spent only at the president's discretion. Obey suggested that the money needed to be spent regardless of whether the president chose to spend it. To Progressives, the substance of the amendment-which they favored as a way to ensure more spending for homeland security-was less important than the fact that it gummed up the process. The longer the legislative process could be stalled, the more likely it was that Republicans would be forced to permit a separate vote on the debt ceiling. They voted "yes" for this reason. The amendment was rejected 199-213.

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