This was a vote on an amendment by Rep. Jim Himes (D-CT) that would have required that any financial savings that resulted from assigning duties which had previously been carried out by contractors to federal government employees be used for deficit reduction. This amendment was offered to legislation authorizing annual funding for Defense Department programs.
Himes urged support for his amendment: “ The underlying text of the National Defense Authorization Act [the underlying bill] calls for the shift of certain inherently governmental functions, currently being performed by contractors, to civilian employees within the Department of Defense. My amendment is simple. It requires that any cost savings achieved by this transfer be used for deficit reduction. I'm going to say that again. Any cost savings associated with shifting work from contractors to civilian employees will get used for deficit reduction. Reaching the debt limit last week was a stark reminder of the consequences of ballooning spending throughout the federal government, including defense spending. Committing cost savings to deficit reduction is the first step toward returning to a fiscally sustainable budget.”
Rep. Randy Forbes (R-VA) opposed the amendment: “The reason that DOD [the Department of Defense] has an incentive to try to make these efficiencies is so that they can reprioritize and use these dollars for programs that are absolutely vital and important for the national defense of the country. To say that every time they make those savings we are going to take off of the top line of the Department of Defense will be a disincentive for the Department of Defense to make those savings.”
The House rejected this amendment by a vote of 184-240. Voting “yea” were 123 Democrats—including a majority of progressives--and 61 Republicans. 175 Republicans and 65 Democrats voted “nay.” As a result, the House rejected an amendment that would have required that any financial savings that resulted from assigning duties that had previously been carried out by contractors to federal government employees be used for deficit reduction.