This was a vote on an amendment by Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-CA) that would have reduced federal funding for missile defense systems by $100 million. This amendment was offered to legislation authorizing annual funding for Defense Department programs.
Sanchez urged support for her amendment: “…My Republican colleagues increased the funding of the Ground-based Midcourse Defense [missile defense] system by $100 million. My amendment would simply take out that $100 million and give it towards savings for our country to bring down the deficit. We Democrats support progress on homeland missile defense. We want to see that the technology is proven and reliable, and that it is cost effective. However, additional funds for the GMD [missile defense] are not needed and would be wasteful. The head of the Missile Defense Agency, the director, General O'Reilly, has stated that he does not need the increase in these funds for fiscal year 2012. In fact, in front of the Senate Armed Services Committee at a hearing on April 15, he said: `Right now, sir, I've got the funding I need to address this problem,' meaning some of the failure problems we have, `because I've stopped my production line. My production line was stopped not to save money. It is solely driven by what we need to confirm the design works before we go back into production.'”
Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH) opposed the amendment: “These are dollars that are needed, and the threat that we have is increasing. The Ground-based Midcourse Defense system is the only missile defense system that we have that currently protects the American people from long-range ballistic missile threats, a threat that is increasing. This is a program that has had successive cuts in the past. In fiscal year 2010, the [Obama] administration slashed GMD by 35 percent or $445 million in the same year that program had setbacks. This year's fiscal year 2012 request cuts GMD by 14 percent, or $185 million. The department's 5-year spending projection cuts Ground-based Missile Defense by an additional billion, or nearly 20 percent. This is a program that is having setbacks, but it is the only program that we have. We can't cut it and expect to fix it. We can't cut it and expect it get it right.”
The House rejected this amendment by a vote of 184-234. Voting “yea’ were 169 Democrats—including a majority of progressives—and 15 Republicans. 218 Republicans and 16 Democrats voted “nay.” As a result, the House rejected an amendment that would have reduced federal funding for missile defense systems by $100 million.