What: All Issues : Making Government Work for Everyone, Not Just the Rich or Powerful : Insuring Government Has Adequate Financing to Function : HR 2669. (Student loans reconciliation) Procedural question on whether to endorse the idea of permanently extending certain tax credits for adoption without increasing the deficit/On the motion (2007 senate Roll Call 267)
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HR 2669. (Student loans reconciliation) Procedural question on whether to endorse the idea of permanently extending certain tax credits for adoption without increasing the deficit/On the motion
senate Roll Call 267     Jul 19, 2007
Progressive Position:
Yea
Progressive Result:
Loss

This vote was part of a disagreement between Jim DeMint, R-S.C., and Mary Landrieu, D-La., over whether and how to extend the tax credit for adoptions. Specifically, this vote was on whether to allow an amendment by Landrieu that would have put the Senate on record as endorsing extending a tax credit for adoption, as long as it was paid for with new revenues or reducing spending in another place. Landrieu attempted to tack this language onto an amendment offered by DeMint. The amendment battle took place as part of a bill that would overhaul student loans.

DeMint's amendment, which Landrieu sought to modify, would make permanent an adoption tax credit enacted as part of President Bush's 2001 package of tax cuts. The credit is scheduled to expire in 2010.

Landrieu offered an amendment to DeMint's amendment that would specify that Congress endorses the idea of permanently extending the adoption tax credit, provided that it also eliminates "wasteful spending, such as spending on unnecessary tax loopholes," in order to avoid increasing the deficit as a result.

"It is a very important tax credit, but if we are going to have it, we need to pay for it," Landrieu said. "The problem with [DeMint's] amendment is it is not paid for and it is going to jeopardize the underlying bill. So, yes, we do need to extend this tax permanently but not on this bill and not tonight, and we need to find a way to pay for it."

DeMint then attempted to use a procedural maneuver to have Landrieu's amendment to his amendment killed because her amendment was not related (or "germane") to the underlying student loan bill. In some cases, when portions of a bill violate certain congressional rules, the bill can be quickly defeated with these procedural motions unless the Senate votes to waive the rule in question. One of these Senate rules requires that amendments be related to the subject of the bill itself. When DeMint moved to have Landrieu's amendment defeated on the grounds that it was not "germane" enough, Landrieu called a vote on waiving that Senate rule for her amendment.

Though the vote tied at 48-48, the waiver moton failed because this particular type of vote requires a three-fifths majority of the Senate (60 votes) in order for it to be considered approved. All Republicans present voted against the motion to waive the rules and allow Landrieu's amendment to go forward. All but one Democrat present (Robert Byrd of West Virginia) voted for the waiver motion. The waiver vote was unsuccessful, thus Landrieu's amendment that would have stipulated that a permanent extension of the adoption tax credit should not increase the deficit was killed by the procedural motion.

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