What: All Issues : Making Government Work for Everyone, Not Just the Rich or Powerful : Adequate Government Funding for a Broad Range of Human Needs : S Con Res 21. (Fiscal 2008 budget resolution), DeMint of South Carolina amendment on creating a debt reduction account/On agreeing to the amendment (2007 senate Roll Call 99)
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S Con Res 21. (Fiscal 2008 budget resolution), DeMint of South Carolina amendment on creating a debt reduction account/On agreeing to the amendment
senate Roll Call 99     Mar 23, 2007
Progressive Position:
Nay
Progressive Result:
Win

This vote was on an amendment by Jim DeMint, R-S.C., that would establish a debt reduction account associated with every appropriations bill (the class of bills that actually spend money out of the federal coffers). In essence, each time spending in an appropriations bill was cut on the floor, that excess funding would be deposited into a new debt reduction account, to be used to reduce the federal deficit.

"If during the debate of that appropriations bill we cut something in it, it will not be put back in the pot to be spent on something else," DeMint said. "This account will be used for debt reduction."

Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad, D-N.D., said he opposed the amendment because it would prevent Appropriators from transferring that excess money to another program that needed funding. "If there were savings in one area of the budget and Homeland Security needed additional funding, they would not be able to transfer the money," Conrad said.

DeMint countered that the amendment wouldn't prohibit money from being taken out of the debt reduction account and used for other items, if Congress so chose. "So if we want to take money from any account and shift it to military or Defense, there is no prohibition in this amendment, so we do not change what we are able to do now. What we are not able to do now is, if we cut something and want that money to go to debt reduction--this amendment would simply allow, in the future, for us to designate it to an account rather than to additional spending," DeMint said.

Conrad said his reading of the amendment's effect was different, and that he had not had enough time to analyze it, so he would oppose it.

Democrats were successful in defeating DeMint's amendment by a vote of 38-61. Though four Democrats sided with Republicans in voting for the amendment, it was not enough to counter the 15 Republicans that voted with the majority of Democrats against it. Thus, the budget resolution went forward without language that would have required that spending cut from appropriations bills be placed into an account to be used for debt reduction.

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