This was a vote on a resolution establishing the budget for fiscal year 2010. The fiscal year 2010 budget provided for, among other things, health care reform, a middle class tax cut, increased funding for a number of social programs, additional spending in energy conservation, and a slower rate of increase in defense spending. It also included “reconciliation” language, which allowed the Senate to consider health care reform without giving the minority the ability to filibuster it.
Rep. Spratt (D-SC), who was leading the effort in support of the budget, called it “a deficit reduction budget, because it lowers the deficit by $1.2 trillion over 5 years”, but said it “is not so committed to deficit reduction that it overrides or overlooks other needs. In fact, it takes on topics that previous budgets have found too tough to face, such as health care for millions of Americans who do not have insurance.” Spratt claimed that it creates initiatives to make the U.S. economy more productive, citing increased spending in higher education as an example. He noted that there had been Republican criticism of the increased spending in the budget and argued that the changes it would make in health care, energy, education, and environmental policies “are all implemented by way of reserve funds . . . (that) are all deficit-neutral.”
Rep. Ryan (R-WI), who was leading the opposition to the budget resolution, claimed that “an honest accounting of this budget” would show that “there is an additional $1.172 trillion in deficit spending that's occurring here that had been masked . . . .” He claimed that the budget would allow for “an absolute gusher of new spending, of more taxing and of more borrowing, which results in a record level of new borrowing” that would double the national debt in 5 ½ years and triple it in about 10 1/2 years. Ryan argued that Congress needs “to bring fiscal discipline and some limits and some control to the process of taxing and spending”, but that this budget would do the opposite.
Rep Spratt responded by acknowledging that “this is a big spending bill” but then noted that it actually reduces spending through the end of fiscal year 2010. Rep. Rep. Becerra (D-CA) supported Spratt by saying that the budget had to respond to the weak economic conditions in the country. Becerra agreed that it was not “a perfect budget”, but argued that it is ‘difficult to be perfect when you inherit a $1.3 trillion deficit and when the (economy) is going down into the ditch . . . .”
The resolution passed by a vote of 233-193. All two hundred and thirty-three “aye” votes were cast by Democrats. Seventeen other Democrats joined one hundred and seventy-six Republicans voted “nay”. As a result, the House approved the fiscal year 2010 budget.