What: All Issues : Making Government Work for Everyone, Not Just the Rich or Powerful : Adequate Government Funding for a Broad Range of Human Needs : HR 4213. (Extending expiring programs) Motion to kill an amendment that would require reports on risks posed by foreign holdings of U.S. debt and require the president to cut spending if that risk was too high/On the motion (2010 senate Roll Call 183)
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HR 4213. (Extending expiring programs) Motion to kill an amendment that would require reports on risks posed by foreign holdings of U.S. debt and require the president to cut spending if that risk was too high/On the motion
senate Roll Call 183     Jun 09, 2010
Progressive Position:
Yea
Progressive Result:
Loss

This vote was on killing an amendment by John Cornyn, R-Texas, that would order annual reviews of national security and economic hazards posed by the national debt, and also quarterly risk assessments of the same factors, focused on foreign holdings of U.S. debt.  If the risk was found to be too high, the president would have to implement a plan to cut that risk “in a way that reduces federal spending.”  The amendment was offered to a bill that would extend several expired tax provisions, unemployment insurance benefits, Medicaid assistance to states, Medicaid doctor payment increases and other items.

Max Baucus, D-Mont., made a motion that the amendment be killed, which is what this vote was on.  Baucus had an alternative amendment (see vote 182) that would order a study of the risks posed by foreign holdings of debt and the debt itself.  If the president determined the risk to be unacceptable, then the president would have to provide an “action plan” to Congress. 

Cornyn said his amendment “represents a modest attempt to ensure that Congress is kept informed on the economic and national security implications of two important matters: first, the ballooning national debt; and, secondly, the foreign financing of our deficit spending.”

Baucus said Cornyn’s amendment is “dangerous.”

“It would send the wrong message to people who are buying America’s debt. It would send a message that we are suspicious of people who buy our debt and would require the Treasury to opine the intent of purchasers of U.S. debt. It would thus discourage people from buying American debt. This would cause us to have to pay higher interest rates on our debt, and that would mean higher rates of inflation. It would roil the bond markets at a sensitive time,” Baucus said.

By a vote of 38-61, the motion to kill the amendment was rejected.  Of Democrats present, 37 voted to kill the amendment and 19 voted against killing the amendment.  Every Republican present voted against killing the amendment.  The end result is that the motion to kill the amendment failed, and debate on the bill continued.  (The amendment was later adopted by a voice vote, adding language to the bill that would require risk reports on foreign holdings of U.S. debt; if that risk was too high, the president would have to implement a plan to cut that risk by reducing spending.)

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