What: All Issues : Making Government Work for Everyone, Not Just the Rich or Powerful : (H.R. 2997) The conference report containing the agreement between the House and Senate on the legislation providing fiscal year 2010 funding for the Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration - - on a motion to instruct the House representatives to the conference not to agree to a final version unless it is made available to them 72 hours before they vote on it (2009 house Roll Call 742)
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(H.R. 2997) The conference report containing the agreement between the House and Senate on the legislation providing fiscal year 2010 funding for the Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration - - on a motion to instruct the House representatives to the conference not to agree to a final version unless it is made available to them 72 hours before they vote on it
house Roll Call 742     Sep 29, 2009
Progressive Position:
Nay
Progressive Result:
Loss

The House and Senate had passed differing versions of H.R. 2997, the bill providing fiscal year 2010 funding for the Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). As is usual procedure in such situations, a conference was scheduled between representatives of the two bodies to develop a final version of the bill. This was a motion by Rep. Kingston (R-GA) for the House to instruct its representatives to the conference not to agree to a final version of H.R. 2997 unless it is made available to them 72 hours before they vote on it.

Rep. Kingston, arguing on behalf of his motion, referenced major legislation that had been considered earlier in the session which the Republicans had opposed. He said that Members had not had adequate time to review those measures before voting on them. Kingston then argued generally against moving bills too quickly, and indirectly criticized the very controversial health care bill that the House Democrats were supporting.

Kingston did acknowledge that “Republicans, as well as Democrats, have been guilty of last-minute bill changing and last-minute arm twisting . . . .” He said “what we are asking . . . is that Members have time to read bills by putting (them) on the table for 72 hours. That's all that this motion does.”

Rep. DeLauro (D-CT), who chairs the Appropriations Committee subcommittee that developed H.R 2997, opposed the motion. She said that she is “someone who agrees that we need to look at bills, read them, understand them, et cetera”, but then added that the House has “had a thorough examination of all the issues that are in this appropriations bill.” DeLauro noted that the beginning of the 2010 fiscal year, for which the bill provided funding, was starting in two days. She said ”(T)here is that time constraint and this motion to instruct would really tie the hands of the conferees, in trying to be able to move forward given the weeks that have gone into producing the conference report.”

The motion passed by a vote of 359-41. One hundred and ninety-three Democrats and all one hundred and sixty-six Republicans voted “aye”. Forty-one other Democrats, including a majority of the most progressive Members, voted “nay”. A spokeswoman for the Congressional Progressive Caucus suggested that those voting against the motion did so because of their opposition to imposing any formal restriction on the time when this or any other urgently-needed bill could be brought to the floor.

As a result of the vote, the House conferees were instructed not to approve a final version of the 2010 Agriculture Department and FDA funding bill unless it had been available for review for 72 hours.

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