This vote was on whether to send the bill that funds the departments of Commerce and Justice and science programs back to the Appropriations Committee to strip $3.4 billion from the bill. The motion was made by John Ensign, R-Nev.
Ensign said his amendment would have had the effect of holding the bill to the same level as was spent last year for comparable programs, not including extra funding for the 2010 Census, which happens once every 10 years.
“In this era of record deficits and uncontrolled Washington spending, we are living under last year’s spending levels with this motion. We need to get serious in this body about getting our spending under control. We have to start with appropriations bills. We know we have to cut spending on entitlements. Let’s start now by living under last year’s spending levels, instead of the large increases we are having on appropriations bill after appropriations bill,” Ensign said.
Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., said the consequences of such a large cut would be “devastating” to many important programs.
“First of all, you are cutting Federal law enforcement. If you think this is a simple resolution, tell that to the FBI. If you think it is simple, tell it to the marshals who are chasing sexual predators. If you think it is simple, tell it to the astronauts, who are waiting to make sure we put the money in the budget to keep them safe as they go into space,” Mikulski said.
By a vote of 33-65, the motion was rejected. Of Republicans present, 31 voted for the motion to cut the money from the bill and 9 voted against it. All but two Democrats present voted against the motion to cut the money from the bill. The end result is that the measure went forward without language that would have cut $3.4 billion from the fiscal 2010 Commerce-Justice-Science spending bill.