This vote was on a motion to defeat another motion made against the fiscal 2010 legislative branch spending bill. David Vitter, R-La., made a motion to send the bill back to its committee of jurisdiction to reduce spending to fiscal 2009 levels. Ben Nelson D-Neb., then made a motion that Vitter’s motion be defeated, which is what this vote was on. This spending bill allocates money for the legislative branch, such as congressional salaries and operating expenses.
The legislative branch spending bill is one of the smaller appropriations bills Congress must deal with every year and generally one of the more noncontroversial. Vitter said he offered his motion because in this struggling economy Congress must look for savings in everything it does, including this measure.
“This motion … would simply send this appropriations bill back to the committee and ask that they restyle it so that it does not spend any more money than we spent on legislative appropriations for the last fiscal year. That would constitute about a $76 million cut. That is not a huge amount of money in Washington terms, but I think it would be the beginning of a huge and an important and an appropriate statement by this body,” Vitter said.
Nelson, who moved to defeat Vitter’s motion, agreed with his sentiment but said that the legislative branch has incurred some significant expenditures and expansions that necessitate more money than was spent in the last year, including a new, massive visitor center complex.
“My intention was to hold this bill at the rate of inflation, if we could, and it frankly pained me to even have to go as far as 2.4 percent over current year. But the reality is there are expenses in the legislative branch that we are responsible for,” Nelson said. “We are all concerned about fiscal responsibility.”
By a vote of 65-31, the motion was adopted. All but four Democrats present voted for the motion. Of Republicans present, 12 voted for the motion and 27 voted against it. The end result is that the motion to kill Vitter’s motion passed, Vitter’s motion to send the bill back to committee to reduce its spending to fiscal 2009 levels was defeated, and debate on the legislative branch spending bill continued.