What: All Issues : Making Government Work for Everyone, Not Just the Rich or Powerful : Insuring Government Has Adequate Financing to Function : H. Res. 275, providing for the rules of consideration for the fiscal 2008 budget resolution (H. Con. Res. 99)/Procedural motion to end debate and prohibit amendment (2007 house Roll Call 202)
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H. Res. 275, providing for the rules of consideration for the fiscal 2008 budget resolution (H. Con. Res. 99)/Procedural motion to end debate and prohibit amendment
house Roll Call 202     Mar 28, 2007
Progressive Position:
Yea
Progressive Result:
Win

This was a procedural vote on a measure to provide floor consideration for a fiscal 2008 budget resolution, which would set spending and revenue targets for the next five years.

By law, Congress is supposed to pass a budget resolution every year by April 15. The Republican-led Congress failed to do so for the fiscal 2007 year, leading to what many in both parties acknowledged was a breakdown in the process of appropriating money for the government to function. Even though the budget resolution does not have the force of law, it establishes broad financial guidelines for upcoming debates on spending and thus serves as an agreed-upon framework for how Congress considers tax and spending decisions. The new Democratic majority in Congress sought to pass a fiscal 2008 budget resolution as a way to contrast its leadership style with its Republican predecessors.

This motion was to order the previous question (a parliamentary tool to end debate and the possibility of amendment) on a rule to provide for floor consideration of the budget resolution. The rules for debate outline how much time will be allotted to each side, what amendments will be considered in order and what procedural motions will be allowed. The "rules package," as it is known, allowed for the introduction of three alternative budget plans, including those offered by Republicans, the Congressional Black Caucus as well as the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

The budget resolution written by the Democratic majority included a $1.1 trillion cap on discretionary spending, about $25 billion more than President Bush sought and $7 billion more than the budget resolution adopted by the Senate. (There are two types of government spending: what's known as mandatory, which is determined by existing laws, such as Social Security and Medicare payments, and discretionary spending, which includes items such as highway projects and funding the military, which can fluctuate each year without other statutory changes.) The House Democrat's budget proposal - in keeping with pay-as-you-go budget rules that require any new spending to be offset by tax increases or spending cuts elsewhere in the federal budget -- was sufficient to allow inflationary increases in most programs as well as significant increases in education spending and veterans' benefits.

On a party-line vote, Republicans unanimously opposed the motion ordering the previous question, and all but one Democrat present voted for it. Thus, by a vote of 225-196, debate on the rules for consideration for the fiscal 2008 budget resolution ended and the rules package moved towards an up-or-down vote.

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