This vote was on a motion to table (kill) a resolution that would have disapproved the manner in which the Democratic Members of the commission dealing with the House’s special mailing rights were carrying out their responsibilities. The resolution had been offered by House Republican Leader Boehner (R-OH) as a “privileged” matter, which meant it would have been immediately taken up by the House. After it was offered, House Majority Leader Hoyer (D-MD) moved that the resolution be tabled (killed).
Members of Congress are permitted to send official mail without postage. The communications may include, among other things, letters to constituents, newsletters regarding legislation and Member votes, press releases about official Member activities, and government reports. They may not send out partisan material without postage. There is a bipartisan commission that oversees these free mailing rights.
The Boehner resolution was prompted by a decision of the Democratic members of the commission to prevent Republican House Members from sending out a chart which contained an illustration of the Democratic health care proposal. According to Roll Call, a publication that covers Congress, the chart consisted of “a convoluted maze of government offices and programs” and the mailing criticized the Democratic proposal. In response to the action of the Democratic commission Members, Minority Leader Boehner said the Democrats were “trying to restrict Members of Congress from showing (the problems with the health care proposal) to their constituents, and that’s just wrong.” He then offered this resolution disapproving of the actions of the Democratic members of the commission.
The position of the Democrats, according to Roll Call, was that “sending out the chart as official mail would violate House rules because the information is misleading (and partisan). Rules . . . bar Members from using taxpayer-funded mail for newsletters that use ‘partisan, politicized or personalized’ comments to criticize legislation or policy.” INCLUDEPICTURE "http://cdn.rollcall.com/media/ui/clearpixel.gif" \* MERGEFORMAT The Boehner resolution was killed by a vote of 244-173 along almost straight party lines. All two hundred and forty-four “aye” votes were cast by Democrats. One hundred seventy-two Republicans and one Democrat voted “nay”. As a result, the House effectively decided not to disapprove of the manner in which the Democratic Members of the commission dealing with House Members’ special mailing rights were carrying out their responsibilities.