This was a vote on an amendment offered to a bill authorizing funding for an environmental literacy grant program (which would educate the American public about water resources issues) and additional funding for an environmental education program "promoting stewardship" of coastal and marine resources for students in Kindergarten through 12th grade.
Rep. Lois Capps (D-CA) urged support for the bill: "…My bill, H.R. 3644, seeks to formally authorize these two innovative and important NOAA [National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration] education programs that were established through the annual appropriations process so we can ensure that they are here for our children now and in the future. It also ensures that certain standards and criteria for positive implementation are met by the agency when they spend these funds. To me, this represents a responsible oversight effort on the part of our committee to exercise our proper duties."
Rep. Donna Edwards (D-MD) argued the bill would help educate the students about the Chesapeake Bay: "I come from the state of Maryland, and we have the largest estuary, the Chesapeake Bay, in and around the State of Maryland, and this notion of educating young people, investing them in science and also educating them about the deep impacts that we have through all of our communities onto this estuary is so important."
Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) argued the bill was fiscally irresponsible: "There are two simple and compelling arguments for why I am opposed to this legislation: first, it spends too much money that our government just doesn't have, and it singles out two of the more than one dozen NOAA education programs for special treatment when the entire effort is subject to a top-to-bottom review."
Rep. Dan Lungren (R-CA) objected to annual increases in spending for programs funded by the bill: "…We have a bill which has a wonderful name with a wonderful purpose; but it appears that we are forgetting the fact that we're broke. As I understand this bill, this will be a 10 percent increase per year for 5 years for this education program."
The House passed the bill by a vote of 244-170. 236 Democrats and 8 Republicans voted "yea." 161 Republicans and 9 Democrats voted "nay." As a result, the House passed legislation authorizing funding for two programs intended to educate the public about water resources issues.