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), Thomas of Wyoming amendment that would bar non-defense earmarks in certain bills/On agreeing to the amendment (2007 senate Roll Call 106)
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S Con Res 21. (Fiscal 2008 budget resolution), Thomas of Wyoming amendment that would bar non-defense earmarks in certain bills/On agreeing to the amendment
senate Roll Call 106     Mar 23, 2007
Progressive Position:
Nay
Progressive Result:
Win

This vote occurred on an amendment by Craig Thomas, R-Wyo., that would bar non-defense related earmarks (pet projects inserted by a specific member of Congress) from being added to emergency measures intended to fund combat operations.

The amendment was offered to the budget resolution that serves as the blueprint for Congress' budget priorities in fiscal 2008. The budget resolution sets overall spending targets for the Appropriations committees and outlines other budget rules.

"The very nature of emergency spending is above and beyond the approved budget. If we want to control spending and control the deficit, then we need to control what we put on these kinds of supplemental bills we are seeing worked out right as we speak," Thomas said. "However, too often the emergency supplementals are larded with all kinds of pet projects and spending that members cannot pass in the regular process or others put it in there to get theirs passed."

Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad, D-N.D., said he opposed the amendment because it would prevent Congress from passing a bill intended to address more than one emergency situation.

"Let me give my colleagues a concrete example. Last year Congress enacted an appropriations bill that included funding for the war effort in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as disaster relief for the Gulf Coast. This amendment would prevent that kind of legislation. That would reduce the effectiveness and efficiency of this chamber already noted for lacking efficiency," Conrad said.

Lawmakers also generally don't like restricting their own ability to insert earmarks into legislation, though they did tighten congressional rules in 2007 by requiring bills containing earmarks to identify who requested each project.

The amendment was defeated 39-59. All but one Democrat voted against the amendment: Evan Bayh of Indiana. Most Republicans voted against it, but 10 voted yes. Thus the budget resolution went forward without language barring earmarks from being added to emergency war spending bills.

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