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. 3293) On agreeing to the Obey of Wisconsin amendment, which made a number of additions and reductions to the bill providing $161 billion in 2010 fiscal year funding for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education; none of the changes was for more than $10 million, and the total of all increases was offset by the total of all reductions. (2009 house Roll Call 641)
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(H.R. 3293) On agreeing to the Obey of Wisconsin amendment, which made a number of additions and reductions to the bill providing $161 billion in 2010 fiscal year funding for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education; none of the changes was for more than $10 million, and the total of all increases was offset by the total of all reductions.
house Roll Call 641     Jul 24, 2009
Progressive Position:
Yea
Progressive Result:
Win

This was a vote on the amendment offered by Rep. Obey (D-WI), the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, which developed H.R.3293, the bill that provided $161 billion in 2010 fiscal year funding for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education. The amendment made a number of increases and decreases in various spending programs in the measure, the total of which left overall spending in the bill at the $161 billion figure. The largest change was a $10 million increase in grants that could be made by the Department of Education to charter school program management organizations, and all increases were offset by the total of all reductions. It is not unusual for a committee chairman to offer an amendment, making a number of changes to a bill developed in his or her committee, when it is debated on the House floor.

Among the changes made by the amendment, in addition to that for charter school management grants, were: An additional $5 million for the Department of Labor Career Pathways Innovation Fund; an additional $5 million for the Mathematics and Science Partnership program; an additional $2 million for the Reach Out and Read program; an additional $1 million for the emergency medical services for children's programs; an additional $1 million for the National Center for Health Statistics; and an additional $1 million for university-based modeling and simulation programs. The language of the amendment also prohibited any federal officials from using funds provided by H.R. 3293 for first class travel.

There was significant Republican opposition to the amendment. The opposition was not based on the spending changes made by the amendment, but on the fact that it incorporated nine separate amendments that had been proposed by Democratic Members. The Republican minority had been engaged in an ongoing effort against what it was saying was an unfair practice of the Democratic majority of limiting the number of amendments that could be offered on bills, especially spending bills. This included the limitation on amendments to H.R. 3293.

Rep Tiahrt (R-KS) said that incorporating those nine Democratic amendments in this way eliminated the need to have them made in order individually, while at the same time individual Republican amendments were not made in order. He then identified a number of other amendments that the Republicans wanted to offer that were not made in order by the Democratic majority.

The Obey amendment passed by a vote of 284-137. Two hundred and fifty-two Democrats and thirty-two Republicans voted “aye”. All One hundred and thirty-seven “nay” votes were cast by Republicans. As a result, a number of increases and reductions of $10 million or less were made in the bill providing fiscal year 2010 funding for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education.

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