What: All Issues : Making Government Work for Everyone, Not Just the Rich or Powerful : Insuring Government Has Adequate Financing to Function : (H.R. 2920) Legislation designed to control the federal deficit; the bill required any reductions in federal revenues to be offset by new revenue increases, and any additions to federal spending to be offset by other spending reductions - - on a motion to impose new limits on federal spending in fiscal years 2011 through 2013 (2009 house Roll Call 611)
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(H.R. 2920) Legislation designed to control the federal deficit; the bill required any reductions in federal revenues to be offset by new revenue increases, and any additions to federal spending to be offset by other spending reductions - - on a motion to impose new limits on federal spending in fiscal years 2011 through 2013
house Roll Call 611     Jul 22, 2009
Progressive Position:
Nay
Progressive Result:
Win

This was on a motion by Rep. Ryan (R-WI) to recommit legislation known as the “Pay-As-You-Go” Act to committee with instructions to add language that would have imposed new limits on federal spending in fiscal years 2011 through 2013. The “Pay-As-You-Go” Act required that any action reducing federal revenues be offset by new revenue increases, and any federal spending increases be offset with other spending reductions. The Ryan motion would also have imposed a requirement that the Congressional Budget Office report the interest costs of all legislation, and also calculate the spending impact of all provisions included in all House-Senate reports which reconcile any differences in the versions of the same legislation passed by the House and the Senate.

The language in the Ryan motion was taken from a proposal that had been made earlier by the House “Blue Dog” Democrats. The “Blue Dogs” are a group of conservative Democratic Members.

Rep. Ryan, in his remarks in support of his motion, quoted from a 2004 statement by House Budget Committee Chairman Spratt (D-SC), when the Democrats were in the minority and the Republicans controlled the House. Spratt had said that “Democrats believe that a set of discretionary spending caps arrived through bipartisan negotiation is an important part of an effective budget enforcement.” Ryan then said “we agree that this bill will be far more effective if discretionary spending caps were added to it.”

Spratt responded to Ryan’s remarks by noting that the spending caps Ryan was seeking to impose had been proposed eight months previously, and that economic conditions had changed significantly since that time. Spratt also claimed that the Ryan motion “is an effort . . . to kill (the Pay-As-You-Go bill and) . . . if we vote for the motion to recommit, we will (put its passage) at jeopardy because this is a procedural device to defeat a bill that they cannot defeat on the substance of the merits of the bill itself.”

Spratt’s arguments were supported by Rep. Hill (D-IN), the primary sponsor of the original Blue Dog proposal. Hill said “I want to award an ‘A' to the Republicans over here for cleverness because this is a very clever thing to do, but it's not the right thing to do.” Rep. Hoyer (D-MD), the House Majority Leader, also opposed the motion and said the Republicans do not like the bill since it “constrains you in cutting taxes because it makes you pay for that, just as it makes us pay for any increases.”

The motion was defeated by a vote 196-234. One hundred and seventy-seven Republicans joined by nineteen Democrats voted “aye”. All two hundred and thirty-four “nay” votes were cast be Democrats. As a result no future year spending caps were added to the “Pay-As-You-Go” Act and the House moved to a vote on its final passage.

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