This was a vote on the resolution or “rule” setting the terms for debate of the budget for fiscal year 2010. That budget also included spending guidelines for the next five fiscal years. Under House procedures, before a measure can be considered, the House must first approve a rule setting the terms for debate of the measure.
The debate focused primarily on the merits of the Democratic and Republican budget proposals, rather than on the terms of the rule for debating them. Rep. McGovern (D-MA), who led the effort on behalf of the rule, claimed that the Democratic budget “reduces the deficit . . . cuts taxes for middle-class families, and . . . makes critical investments in health care, education, and clean energy. . . . .” He argued that the Obama Administration inherited an economy in a deep recession, with a projected annual deficit of over $1 trillion, “which was the direct result of the policies of the Bush administration, along with their Republican allies in Congress . . . .” McGovern went on to argue that the proposed Democratic budget will reduce the deficit by growing the economy, creating good-paying jobs for middle-class Americans, and investing in the green energy economy of the future. He contrasted this with the Republican budget proposal he said would slash health care and nutrition “for the most vulnerable Americans . . . (ignore) the educational needs of our people . . . (and rely) on the same dirty fossil fuels that threaten our environment and increase our dependence on foreign oil.”
Rep. Andrews (D-NJ), supporting McGovern, said that the Republicans’ claim that the Democratic budget will raise taxes is untrue and: “(I)n fact, there is a $1.7 trillion tax reduction (in the Democratic budget) for the bottom 95 percent of people in this country, for middle-class people.” Rep. Maloney (D-NY) added that the effect of the budget resolution would be to cut the deficit by two-thirds by 2013.
Rep. Dreier (R-CA), who led the Republicans in the debate, responded to the Democrats’ claim that their budget would reduce the deficit by saying that, after reviewing that budget, “I don't know where that comes from. . . all the spending that is in here . . . will create deficits that are . . . extraordinarily high.” Rep. Lungren (R-CA) referred to the claims of the Democrats that the Bush Administration had created the deficits. He said “to condemn the actions of the past and then say you're going to get out of it by repeating it but doubling down on it doesn't seem to make a whole lot of sense.” Lungren also argued that the “cap and trade” system included in the Democratic budget, under which companies that emit excessive amounts of pollutants would have to buy energy credits from those companies that pollute less, is effectively an unfair tax on many small business that consumer would ultimately bear.
The rule passed by a vote of 242-176. All 242 “aye” votes were cast by Democrats. Six other Democrats joined all 170 Republicans and voted “nay”. As a result, the House was able to move ahead to debate the fiscal year 2010 budget resolution.