What: All Issues : Making Government Work for Everyone, Not Just the Rich or Powerful : Ensuring Fair Elections : H.R. 2985. Appropriations/Vote to Approve Conference Report for Legislative Branch Appropriations (Funding) Bill. (2005 house Roll Call 451)
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H.R. 2985. Appropriations/Vote to Approve Conference Report for Legislative Branch Appropriations (Funding) Bill.
house Roll Call 451     Jul 28, 2005
Progressive Position:
Nay
Progressive Result:
Loss

In this vote, the House voted to adopt the conference report for H.R. 2985, the bill to fund the legislative branch of the U.S. government in fiscal year 2006 (FY06). (A conference report is the reconciled version of a bill that emerges from a conference of selected senators and representatives following the passage of different versions of the bill by each body. The report must then be agreed to by both the House and the Senate, without changes, before it can be sent to the President for his signature.) The bill would provide $3.804 billion for the legislative branch in 2006, including both houses of Congress, the Capitol Police, the Government Printing Office, the Library of Congress, the Congressional Budget Office and the Government Accounting Office. Taking the Progressive position, David Obey (D-WI) noted that the construction of a large Visitors' Center at the Capitol was now likely to run approximately $510 million beyond originally anticipated costs and was at least two years behind schedule. He condemned the overruns, stating "I think a tremendous amount of space has been wasted. And I think a tremendous amount of taxpayers' dollars have been wasted." Obey also condemned language which had been tacked onto the appropriations bill to provide for continuity in Congress in the event that a terrorist attack or other disaster killed a large number of members of Congress. He argued that this language provided for special elections to be held in 45 days, and that during that interim period, the President of the United States could virtually have complete control of the government. He expressed his preference for temporary appointments that could be made immediately, until special elections could be held. Republicans disagreed. Appropriations Committee Chair Jerry Lewis (R-CA) asserted that the bill was a "lean" one, and he explained that the increase from the previous year's appropriations-including the Visitors' Center-was the result of increased security measures in and around the Capitol. Republicans also favored the continuity-of-government language in the bill, arguing that it was "important" to have a procedure in place to ensure a functioning government in the event of a "calamity." (Ray LaHood (R-IL).) Progressives suffered a defeat when the House agreed to the conference report by a vote of 305 to 122, with 110 Democrats crossing party lines to vote "yes" with Republicans, and 34 Republicans choosing to vote "no" with Progressives. Thus, funds for the legislative branch of the U.S. government for FY06 were approved by the House, including increased expenditures for construction of the Capitol Visitors' Center, and a provision that could permit the President to have near complete control of the government for 45 days in the event of a terrorist attack or other disaster that took the lives of 100 or more members of Congress.

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