What: All Issues : Fair Taxation : More Equitable Distribution of Tax Burden : Economic Stimulus/Procedural vote on whether to take up the economic stimulus legislation (H.R.1) despite the fact that its expenditures violated the Congressional “pay-as-you-go” rule. Jan. 27, 2009. (2009 house Roll Call 38)
 Who: All Members
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Economic Stimulus/Procedural vote on whether to take up the economic stimulus legislation (H.R.1) despite the fact that its expenditures violated the Congressional “pay-as-you-go” rule. Jan. 27, 2009.
house Roll Call 38     Jan 27, 2009
Progressive Position:
Yea
Progressive Result:
Win

This was a vote on whether the House should begin to consider H.R.1, the legislation that contained the multi-billion dollar stimulus package of spending increases and tax cuts the Democrats had developed in response to the economic downturn.  The bill did not identify sources of additional revenue to pay for those spending increases and tax cuts, as is normally required by the House “pay-as-you-go” rule. Under that rule, if a bill that increases spending or reduces taxes does not identify the required source of compensating revenue, the measure can only be considered if it contains language stating that the bill deals with an emergency. Even then, a majority of the House must still vote to consider the bill.

The legislation containing the stimulus package did include the required language that designated it as an emergency measure to avoid the regular pay-as-you-go requirement. When the stimulus package came to the floor for consideration, the chair announced that H.R. 1 contained the necessary emergency designation, and put the question to the House, as is required under its rules, whether the bill should be considered. There was no debate permitted on the question.
 
The Republican minority in the House and some conservative Democrats Members agreed on the need for a stimulus package, but took the position that it should focus primarily on tax reductions. They opposed the large spending increases in the stimulus legislation. The Republicans, in particular, were using procedural tactics to delay moving the stimulus package through the legislative process. Forcing a roll call vote on approval of the question of whether to consider the bill was one of those tactics.

The vote on the question of consideration of H.R. 1 was 224 ayes and 199 nays, primarily along party lines. All 224 “aye” votes were cast by Democratic Members. Twenty-seven other House Democrats joined with all the Republican Members and voted “nay”. The “yes” vote allowed the House to begin to consider the bill.

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