(H. Res, 609) Legislation providing fiscal year 2010 funding for the Department of Agriculture, rural development, and the Food and Drug Administration - - on a procedural vote to decide whether the House should reconsider its previous decision to approve the resolution setting the terms for debating the bill
This was one of a series of votes resulting from procedural tactics of the Republican minority to protest what it said was the unfair limitation that the Democratic majority was placing on the number of amendments that could be offered to spending bills. This vote was formally on the motion to reconsider the previous decision to approve the resolution or “rule” setting the terms for debating H.R.2997, the bill providing fiscal year 2010 funding for the Department of Agriculture, rural development, and the Food and Drug Administration.
The Republican minority had been expressing its strong opposition to what it was claiming were the unfair limitations that the Democratic majority had been including in rules on this and other spending bills. To protest these restrictions, the Republicans had been making a series of procedural motions to force votes that delayed the process of considering these bills.
Rep. Foxx (R-NC), a Member of the House Rules Committee, had been among the leading voices argued against the rules that limited amendments. During the debate on this and other motions, she said: “(T)hroughout this appropriations season, the Democrat majority has taken unprecedented steps to silence both the minority and their own Democrat colleagues by offering all appropriations bills under (very restrictive) rules. This has consistently eliminated the ability of Members to speak up for how their constituents believe their money should be spent.” Foxx went on to claim that “when Republicans were in the majority, the most regular appropriations bills considered under a restrictive rule in any single season was four in 1997 . . . .”
Rep. Dreier (R-CA), the Ranking Republican on the Rules Committee, argued that “we are preventing Members from having an opportunity to bring about any kind of reduction in spending . . . One of the things that has been great about the appropriations amendment process in the past has been simply that Democrats and Republicans could stand up and offer germane amendments that could bring about reductions in spending.”
Rep. DeLauro (D-CT), the chair of the Appropriations Committee subcommittee that developed H.R. 2997, countered by claiming: “(W)e have had an open process throughout the subcommittee and committee markups . . . Clearly, my colleagues on the other side of the aisle have had an opportunity to speak their minds on these issues and have their amendments considered (during the subcommittee and Appropriations Committee drafting sessions).” Rep. Farr (D-CA), another Democratic member of the Appropriations Committee disagreed with the Republican argument that they had been shut out, since he said they were permitted to appear at Appropriations Committee hearings and they participated in the committee process of actually drafting the bill.
The motion was defeated by a vote of 170-254. One hundred and sixty-six Republicans and four Democrats voted “aye”. Two hundred and forty-three Democrats and eleven Republicans voted “nay”. As a result, the House was able to move on to its next piece of legislative business, the debate on the bill providing fiscal year 2010 funding for the Department of Agriculture, rural development, and the Food and Drug Administration.