What: All Issues : Making Government Work for Everyone, Not Just the Rich or Powerful : Adequate Government Funding for a Broad Range of Human Needs : (H.R. 3183) On the Hensarling of Texas amendment that would have eliminated a $500,000 earmark for the purchase of automated remote electric and water meters by South River, N.J. from the bill providing fiscal year 2010 funds for energy and water development. (2009 house Roll Call 590)
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(H.R. 3183) On the Hensarling of Texas amendment that would have eliminated a $500,000 earmark for the purchase of automated remote electric and water meters by South River, N.J. from the bill providing fiscal year 2010 funds for energy and water development.
house Roll Call 590     Jul 17, 2009
Progressive Position:
Nay
Progressive Result:
Win

This was a vote on an amendment offered by Rep. Hensarling (R-TX) that would have eliminated a $500,000 earmark for the utilities owned by South River N.J. from H.R. 3183, the bill providing fiscal year 2010 funds for energy and water development. The funds are to be used to buy automated remote electric and water meters. An earmark is a project that benefits only a specific constituency or geographic area, which is inserted into a spending bill by an individual Member. A number of Republicans, including Rep. Hensarling, had been consistent critics of earmarks and had been offering a series of amendments to remove them from funding bills. This was one of those amendments.

Rep. Hensarling, in his statement in support of deleting the funds, first said he assumed the project is “useful, cutting-edge kind of stuff (and) . . . good technology.” He then added that he also assumed “it's a good use of somebody's money.” Hensarling then raised the questions of whether it is a federal responsibility, and why the funds should be spent in New Jersey and not some other state. Hensarling noted the very high unemployment rate and federal deficit and asked, rhetorically: “(W)here do you draw the line?”

He concluded by saying: “(E)very dollar that is spent on an automated remote electric water meter for the Borough of South River by the Federal taxpayer . . . cannot be spent on cancer research . . . for a rural veterans health care clinic . . . for tax relief for small businesses--the job engine of America. That's the national priority now, to get the economy moving again.”

Rep. Holt (D-NJ), who had the earmark inserted in the bill, said he understood the argument of Rep. Hensarling about the need “to rein in excessive government spending,” but then added “he is really misguided on this one.” Holt argued that the use of the funds would be for “a demonstration project that would serve as an example for the rest of New Jersey and the Northeast and indeed the whole Nation of how to use technology to conserve energy, to use it more wisely. In fact, every dollar spent . . . on smart metering, is indeed a dollar well spent.”

The amendment was defeated by a vote of 119-308. All one hundred and nineteen “aye” votes were cast by Republicans. Fifty-six other Republicans joined with two hundred and fifty-two Democrats voted “nay”. As a result, the earmark for the purchase of automated remote electric and water meters by South River, N.J. remained in the energy and water development funding bill.

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