This vote was on killing a motion to delete $4.3 billion from the bill that would fund environmental and Interior Department programs in fiscal 2010.
John Ensign, R-Nev., made a motion that the bill be sent back to the Senate Appropriations Committee to have $4.3 billion in funding stricken. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., then made a motion that Ensign’s motion be killed, which is what this vote was on.
Ensign said his motion is an attempt to get a handle on “runaway deficits.”
“We are just going to take this appropriations bill and say with regard to last year’s level, which was increased fairly substantially, we are going to freeze it to last year’s level,” Ensign said. “It is time for this body to show some fiscal restraint. So let’s cut $4 billion out of this spending bill and bring it back to last year’s level.”
Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said Ensign’s motion would have the effect of cutting funding for the National Park Service, for Native American health care, and for water infrastructure.
“Mr. President, $2.5 billion in this bill is for sewer grants; $1.8 billion is for fire suppression. It is the first time we have met the fire suppression need fully so that they do not have to take from other accounts to fight fires,” Feinstein said.
By a vote of 64-34, the motion to defeat Ensign’s motion was agreed to. All but two Democrats present voted to kill Ensign’s motion. Of Republicans present, eight voted to kill Ensign’s motion and 32 voted against killing it. The end result is that Ensign’s motion to slash more than $4 billion was killed and the fiscal 2010 environment and Interior Department spending bill went forward with its funding intact.