This was a vote on a resolution setting a time limit for debate and determining which amendments could be offered to legislation to keep government agencies and programs operating until December 18, 2010.
Government operations are generally funded by 12 annual spending bills, known as “appropriations bills.” (For example, one annual spending bill funds Agriculture Department programs and operations, while another funds those of the Defense Department.) Since none of those 12 bills had been enacted, a temporary measure was needed to keep the government running on a short-term basis.
Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) urged support for the resolution and the underlying bill: “ I rise today in strong support of approving a continuing resolution to maintain a level and consistent funding stream for our federal government. It is one of our primary constitutional responsibilities as members of Congress to keep the federal government running through the passage of appropriations legislation. This continuing resolution will ensure that all necessary and vital functions of government will continue uninterrupted until both chambers of our legislature have completed their work. If we do not act now, Mr. Speaker, the federal government will effectively shut down this Friday, December 3. This continuing resolution is a short term, straightforward measure to keep the government running and get us through the next 2 weeks, until December 18, while bipartisan negotiations [on spending bills] continue in the House and the Senate.
Rep. David Dreier (R-CA) urged opposition the resolution and the underlying legislation: “…It seems to me that as we look at the challenges that are lying ahead, the notion of saying we are going to continue funding at the levels that created a 91 percent increase in nondefense discretionary spending [all spending that is unrelated to military operations, Medicare, and Social Security], that we're going to continue the funding levels that have created that obviously failed $787 billion…stimulus bill [which was passed by the Democratic Congress in 2009 in response to an economic crisis, and was signed into law by President Obama] which has been decried as having failed by people all across the political spectrum…That is why I'm going to urge my colleagues, Mr. Speaker, to oppose this measure. I believe that we can do better.”
The House agreed to this resolution by a vote of 236-172. 236 Democrats voted “yea.” 166 Republicans and6 Democrats voted “nay.” As a result, the House proceeded to formal floor debate on legislation to keep government agencies and programs operating until December 18, 2010.