What: All Issues : War & Peace : (H. Res. 685) Legislation providing 2010 fiscal year funding for the Department of Defense - - on passage of the resolution setting the terms for debate of the bill (2009 house Roll Call 655)
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(H. Res. 685) Legislation providing 2010 fiscal year funding for the Department of Defense - - on passage of the resolution setting the terms for debate of the bill
house Roll Call 655     Jul 29, 2009
Progressive Position:
Yea
Progressive Result:
Win

H.R. 3326 provided 2010 fiscal year funding for the Department of Defense. This was a vote on the resolution or “rule” setting the terms of debate of the bill. That rule limited the number of amendments that could be offered to it. The Republican minority had been engaged in an ongoing effort against what it said was an unfair practice of the Democratic majority of presenting rules limiting the number of amendments that could be offered on bills, especially spending bills such as H.R. 3288.The Democrats were taking the position that a limitation on the number of amendments was necessitated by the need to keep to a congressional schedule of passing all spending bills in a timely manner. In recent years, Congress had been well behind schedule in completing spending bills, and had failed to pass all of them before the beginning of the fiscal year they covered.

Rep. Dreier (R-CA) pointed to the limitation on amendments and argued against what he called “the shutting down of the appropriations process”, which he said had been done “for the first time in the 220-year history of the United States of America”. He also said the rule on H.R. 3288 was the “last opportunity” for the House to open the fiscal year 2010 appropriation process because the Democrats had “closed down” the ability of Members to amend all the previous appropriation bills the House had considered.

Rep. Young (R-FL), also opposed the limitation on amendments. He said that when Republicans “were the majority, we brought (this appropriation bill) to the floor under an open rule. We allowed all of the Members, not just the members of the subcommittee, not just the members of the Appropriations Committee, but we allowed all of the Members . . . to offer whatever amendments they felt that they should offer and to have the debate.”

Rep. Dicks (D-WA), a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, defended the limitation on amendments as “the responsible thing to do . . . in order to get our work done . . . .” He said that “we could not let this thing be open-ended when one side (the Republicans) just wants to abuse the process . . . .” Dicks also argued that “the way to work this thing out is for the two sides to get together before we go to the floor and limit the number of amendments . . . if both sides can control their Members.” He suggested that the Democrats had tried, but failed, to get such an agreement.

Rep. Polis (D-CO) also defended the Democratic approach and pointed to the fact that the rule for the bill did permit a number of amendments to be offered.

The resolution passed by a vote of 241-185. All Two hundred and forty-one “aye” votes were cast by Democrats. One hundred seventy-four Republicans and eleven Democrats voted “nay”. As a result, the House was able to begin debating the bill providing fiscal year 2010 funding for the Department of Defense.

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