What: All Issues : Making Government Work for Everyone, Not Just the Rich or Powerful : Immigration Law Reform : HR 2638. (Fiscal 2008 Homeland Security appropriations) Vote on whether to uphold the ruling of the Senate chairman on whether a border security amendment violates Senate rules/On the decision of the chair (2007 senate Roll Call 277)
 Who: All Members
[POW!]
 

To find out how your Members of Congress voted on this bill, use the form on the right.

HR 2638. (Fiscal 2008 Homeland Security appropriations) Vote on whether to uphold the ruling of the Senate chairman on whether a border security amendment violates Senate rules/On the decision of the chair
senate Roll Call 277     Jul 25, 2007
Progressive Position:
Yea
Progressive Result:
Win

This vote was on affirming the acting Senate chairman's ruling that an amendment offered earlier by Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., violated Senate rules. After Graham offered his amendment, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., used a procedural maneuver in an attempt to kill Graham's amendment.

In some cases, when portions of a bill violate certain congressional rules, the bill can be quickly defeated with these procedural motions. One of these Senate rules stipulates that amendments to appropriations bills such as this one may not contain policy provisions. Appropriations bills are the vehicle by which Congress actually hands out money for various programs; they are not supposed to contain policy provisions, though in reality they often do.. The acting Senate chairman ruled that Graham's amendment did indeed violate this Senate rule. Judd Gregg, R-N.H., said he disagreed with the ruling and asked that the Senate take a vote on whether to endorse the chair's ruling.

Graham's amendment would have added $3 billion in emergency funding for border security, required the Border Patrol to hire 23,000 more agents, and require the government to "achieve full operational control over 100 percent of the U.S.-Mexico land border," among other items. The amendment was offered to the $40.6 billion appropriations bill that funds homeland security programs for fiscal 2008.

"This is a comprehensive border security amendment. It also authorizes things we need to have authorized from the last debate where we were not able to pass a comprehensive bill. It takes some of the stronger border security measures and makes them part of this amendment," Graham said.

Reid said Graham's amendment would have the effect of killing the bill, because the underlying bill, without Graham's $3 billion amendment, is already $2.3 billion more than President Bush had said he would accept in homeland security spending. President Bush had threatened to veto any domestic spending bill that exceeded the targets he set out. Reid also said this is not the place to try to resurrect border security initiatives that had been part of an earlier comprehensive immigration reform bill that ultimately failed..

"There are a number of ways to kill legislation. One is to get on the floor and talk forever. That is the old-fashioned filibuster. The other way is to do it by diversion, other ways. That is what we have before us today. We have here a bill dealing with Homeland Security. We all know border security is important, and we know the underlying bill is $2.3 billion more than the President requested. It is a good bill. But my friends who want to not have this bill have now done what would seem almost impossible: They want to relegislate immigration. We have spent about a month on immigration this year, about a month last year, far more than any other issue," Reid said.

By a vote of 52-44, the Senate upheld the ruling of the Senate chairman that Graham's amendment violated Senate rules because it attempted to add policy provisions to an appropriations bill. All Democrats present voted to uphold the ruling of the Senate chairman. All but three Republicans voted to overturn the chairman's ruling (Thad Cochran of Mississippi, Ted Stevens of Alaska and George Voinovich of Ohio). Thus, the ruling of the chairman was upheld, and Graham's amendment that would have added $3 billion in border security programs was killed.

Issue Areas:

Find your Member of
Congress' votes

Select by Name