This was a vote on a motion to recommit (send back to committee) H.R. 2892 with instructions to add $50 million for the Internet-based system that determines whether a newly hired employee is an illegal immigrant. H.R. 2892 provided funding for the Department of Homeland Security for the 2010 fiscal year. The amendment also reduced funding for the department’s Office of Undersecretary for Management by$50 million.
The motion was made by Rep. Rogers (R-KY), the Ranking Republican on the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee. Rogers described this employee identification system as “a tool to prevent illegitimate workers from working in secure areas . . . .” He claimed that the Obama Administration and the Democratic majority in the House “have delayed, diminished and ultimately dismissed (this) government-run employee verification system under the guise that the system is inaccurate, costly, and susceptible to error and identity theft.”
Rogers further argued that Congress should provide “sufficient funds to ensure even greater accuracy, capacity and oversight to prevent the risk of identity theft . . . and ensure that our government and U.S. businesses are employing legitimate American workers.”
Rep. Price (D-NC), the chairman of the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, was leading the support for H.R. 2892. He acknowledged that the employee verification system had some operational problems. However, Price claimed that there was already “ample money in this bill to work on those problems.” Price then focused on the portion of the amendment that would reduce funding for the Homeland Security Office of Undersecretary for Management by $50 million. He noted that the House had already cut $70 million from the administration's request for the Office of the Undersecretary for Management, and claimed that further reductions would be “decimating to the top ranks of the Department of Homeland Security.”
The motion passed by a vote of 234-193. One hundred and seventy-three Republicans and sixty-one Democrats voted “aye”. One hundred and ninety Democrats, including an overwhelming majority of the most progressive Members, and three Republicans voted “nay”. As a result the bill was sent back to the House Appropriations Committee with instructions to add $50 million for the Internet-based system that determines whether a newly hired employee is an illegal immigrant and to reduce funding for the Homeland Security Department’s Office of Undersecretary for Management by an equal amount.