This was a vote on the resolution or “rule”, which set the terms for debating H.R. 2647, the bill providing fiscal year 2010 funding for the Defense Department. The rule limited the number of amendments that could be offered to the bill.
Rep. Pingree (D-ME) was leading the support for the rule for the Defense Department funding bill. She focused on the merits of that bill, rather than on any terms in the rule for it. Pingree said that “we must take steps to keep our country safe and keep our military prepared. We must work to eliminate wasteful spending and restore fiscal discipline, and we must provide our troops and their families with the care that they need and the quality of life that is worthy of their sacrifice. H.R. 2647 makes significant progress on all these fronts.
Rep. Diaz-Balart said that, “as supportive as I am of the underlying legislation, I must oppose the rule brought forth by the majority.” His opposition, which echoed the arguments Republicans had been making against a number of rules on other appropriation bills, was that the Democratic majority was unfairly restricting the number of amendments Members could offer. Diaz-Balart noted that: “(M)embers from both sides of the aisle submitted 129 amendments . . . The vast majority of amendments, 79, were introduced by members of the majority party. Last night, the majority on the Rules Committee decided to make in order for discussion on this floor two-thirds of the majority amendments and one-third of the minority amendments.”
Diaz-Balart also noted that he had “deep reservations about the (Democratic) majority's decision to block full restoration of missile defense funding . . . ( in the bill because) North Korea's demented despot continues to mock global condemnation of his nuclear program and threatens the United States and our friends and our allies with mass destruction.
The resolution setting the terms for debating H.R. 2647 passed by a vote of 222-208. Two hundred and twenty-one Democrats and one Republican voted “aye”. One hundred and eighty-one Republicans and twenty-seven Democrats joined voted “nay”. As a result, the House was able to begin debating the bill providing funding for the 2010 fiscal year for the Defense Department.