What: All Issues : Making Government Work for Everyone, Not Just the Rich or Powerful : Curbing Presidential Power : H. Res. 261 Providing for consideration of a bill (H.R. 1591) to make "emergency" supplemental appropriations for the war in Iraq/On agreeing to the resolution (2007 house Roll Call 182)
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H. Res. 261 Providing for consideration of a bill (H.R. 1591) to make "emergency" supplemental appropriations for the war in Iraq/On agreeing to the resolution
house Roll Call 182     Mar 22, 2007
Progressive Position:
Yea
Progressive Result:
Win

This was a procedural vote that laid the groundwork for the House's consideration of a mid-year funding bill to appropriate money for ongoing military operations in Iraq. The seventh "emergency" spending bill to make its way through Congress during President Bush's term, the bill would send another $124.3 billion towards the Iraq war effort while taking steps toward ending the 4-year-old conflict. Another, more massive supplemental spending bill to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is expected in the fall. ("Emergency" supplemental appropriations bills are so named because they are handled outside of the regular annual Congressional processes that fund the activities of the U.S. government.) This resolution, often referred to as a "rules package," laid out the rules for consideration for how the supplemental funding bill would be taken up on the House floor. It dictated how much time each side was to be given for debate, and more importantly, what amendments were to be considered in order. The issue of amendments was a critical one among House Democrats, as many Progressives oppose any more funding for the war. A group of Progressives calling themselves the "Out of Iraq" caucus attempted to offer an amendment that would have limited the use of funds in the supplemental to only protecting soldiers on the ground and the "safe and complete withdrawal" of all troops by the end of the year. That amendment -- offered by California Democratic Reps. Lynn Woolsey, Barbara Lee and Maxine Waters -- was rejected by the Democratic-controlled Rules Committee, which drafted the rules for debate without allowances for the three to bring their amendment to the floor. (Of the three, only Waters ended up voting against the rules package, however.) The overall bill contains a timeline for the withdrawal of U.S. troops beginning in 2008, a move opposed almost uniformly by Republicans. And because the funding measure contains language requiring troop withdrawals, Bush has promised to veto the measure if passed. Likely because it was a procedural vote, which usually command near-total conformity within each party's respective ranks, even Democrats who wanted to vote on an amendment to begin troop withdrawals this year instead of waiting until next year ended up voting with the majority in passing the rules package. The resolution passed easily, with one Republican (North Carolina Rep. Walter Jones) voting with 224 Democrats in passing the measure. Five Democrats, including two very progressive members, voted against the procedural resolution. The final vote was 225-201, setting the rules for debate for a bill to provide an additional $124.3 billion for the Iraq war with a timetable for withdrawal. The supplemental appropriations bill was thus readied for floor consideration, where it wound up passing by an extremely close vote (see Roll Call 186).

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