What: All Issues : Making Government Work for Everyone, Not Just the Rich or Powerful : Adequate Funding for Homeland Security : H. Res. 283. Homeland Security/Procedural Vote on Governing Rule for Bill Authorizing the Department of Homeland Security. (2005 house Roll Call 181)
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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 181     May 18, 2005
Progressive Position:
Nay
Progressive Result:
Loss

In this vote, the House agreed to order the previous question regarding the governing rule for H.R. 1817, a bill to authorize the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. (Ordering the previous question means to end debate, prevent further amendments and proceed immediately to a vote. 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.) 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 both 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 agreement from some Democrats, that the bill represented a good first start for oversight over the Department. Progressives lost in this vote when the House ordered the previous question on the rule by a vote of 226 to 199, along straight party lines. Thus, the House proceeded to a vote on the governing rule and then to debate on various amendments of 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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