This vote was on a motion to send the budget resolution that serves as the blueprint for Congress’ budget priorities in fiscal 2010 to the Budget Committee for a rewrite (known as a "motion to recommit"). Mike Johanns, R-Neb., who made the motion, wanted the budget resolution rewritten to limit the overall increase in spending this year to the 2009 projected rate of inflation for non-defense-related spending.
“Here is what my motion does. It would limit the overall increase in the budget to [the Congressional Budget Office]’s projected rate of inflation for nondefense, nonveterans spending. This motion will save $36 billion in 2010 and $194 billion over the 5-year budget window,” Johanns said. “My motion only affects aggregate spending so it allows some programs to be larger than the rate of inflation; thus, any claim that it is unfair to one particular group would be inaccurate. This motion will allow us to take a step back from bloated spending and step forward to fiscal responsibility.”
Kent Conrad, D-N.D., said in another time, he might support this amendment, but that “these are not normal times.”
“We are faced with the steepest economic decline since the Great Depression. The underlying [budget resolution] already cuts nondefense discretionary spending by more than $160 billion. This would cut another $120 billion, much of it front end loaded, at the worst possible time for economic recovery,” Conrad said.
He also made an appeal to a subject near and dear to the heart of every member of Congress: a plea to finish so they can go home. “We have more than 200 amendments pending now—more than 200. If the Senator’s amendment were to pass—this is a motion to recommit the budget resolution to the committee. If anybody wants to repeat the entire exercise of this week, the week we get back, I recommend you vote for the Senator’s amendment. If you prefer to end this today, I recommend you vote no.”
By a vote of 43-55, the motion was rejected. All but two Democrats present voted against the motion. Every Republican present voted for the motion. The end result is that the motion to send the budget resolution back to the committee to limit its non-defense spending to 2009’s inflationary levels was defeated, and consideration of the bill continued.