(H.R. 3288) On the Blackburn of Tennessee amendment, which would have made a 5% across-the-board cut in the fiscal year 2010 funding, not otherwise required by law, for the Departments of Housing and Urban Development, and Transportation
This was a vote on an amendment offered by Rep. Blackburn (R-TN) to H.R. 3228, which provided fiscal year 2010 funding for the Departments of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Transportation. The amendment would have made a 5% across-the-board reduction in all funding in the bill that was not otherwise required by law.
Rep. Blackburn said she was trying to decrease the level of federal spending, because increased spending “hasn't brought back the millions of lost jobs . . . (and) hasn't promoted the economic growth that is so desperately needed. What it has done, it has produced a deficit that will likely top $2 trillion this year.” Blackburn noted that spending on the programs in H.R. 3288 “has increased by 146 percent over the last 3 years . . . (and they) have already gotten $62 billion this year from the stimulus (legislation).” She also claimed that, even with a 5 percent reduction, the amounts in H.R. 3288 “would allow each of the programs to still grow by 11 percent from last year's funding.”
Blackburn noted that states “which function under balanced budget amendments, are great labs of experimentation in state budgeting” and they often make across-the-board cuts. She also claimed that “a good thing about making across-the-board cuts is that it helps reset” budgets back to their baselines, from which judgments can be made about whether they should be increased.
Rep. Olver D-MA), the chairman of the Appropriations Committee subcommittee that developed H.R. 3288, led the opposition to the amendment. Olver claimed that an across-the-board cut “is the worst possible way that one can” reduce spending. He then argued that the increased funding for the department of housing and urban Development was especially needed “to fill the gap for what has happened over the last 8 years of cuts in so many of the housing investment programs.” cuts those places that we particularly wanted to put money into in order to fill the gap that has been growing over a period of years, and it's the wrong thing to do.
Olver then argued that a 55 reduction “would hurt our elders. It would hurt our people who are in affordable housing in either the tenant- or the project-based systems . . . It would cut the program for housing for people with AIDS . . . and disabled housing.”
The amendment was defeated by a vote of 181-252. One hundred and sixty-one Republicans and twenty Democrats voted “aye”. Two hundred and thirty-eight Democrats and fourteen Republicans voted “nay”. As a result, no across-the-board reduction was made in the fiscal year 2010 funding for the Departments of Housing and Urban Development, and Transportation.