This was a vote on House passage of the bill providing fiscal year 2010 funds for energy and water development. The total expenditures in H.R. 3183 were more than $33 billion, which was approximately the same as the corresponding fiscal year 2009 figure and $1.1 billion less than the amount requested by the Obama Administration. The economic stimulus bill enacted earlier in the session had provided an additional $44 billion to the agencies funded by H.R. 3183.
Rep. Pastor (D-AZ), a member of the Appropriations Committee subcommittee that had developed H.R. 3183, was leading the support for the measure. He described the bill as providing funding to deal with “critical issues that affect our nation's security and prosperity--from addressing high gas prices, our energy crisis and climate change to advancing science and innovation, to preventing nuclear proliferation, to encouraging effective project management, and to investing in our nation's flood control and water infrastructure projects.” The measure also required the administration to submit a nuclear weapons strategy before any new nuclear warheads would be funded.
Rep. Frelinghuysen (R-NJ), the Ranking Republican on the Appropriations Committee subcommittee that had developed H.R. 3183, also supported the bill. He called it “a significant improvement over the administration's budget request.” Frelinghuysen did say he was disappointed that there were not additional funds for the Yucca Mountain, Nevada nuclear waste site in which more than $11 billion had already been spent, and which the Obama Administration had decided to close.
The main objection raised by Frelinghuysen was to the limitation that the Democratic majority had placed on the number of amendments that could be offered during the debate on the bill. This complaint had been raised by the Republicans in connection with a series of funding bills on which the number of amendments that could be offered had been limited. Frelinghuysen said: “(W)ith all the debate about climate change, global warming, conservation, carbon footprints and green jobs, Members of Congress in both parties should have the right to propose amendments to address their concerns and support sources of power that they specifically favor and know about . . . .”
The Democrat majority had been arguing that limitations needed to be placed on the number of amendments that could be offered as a way of completing all the funding bills in a timely manner. During the past few years, there had been a number of occasions in which all the funding bills for a fiscal year were not completed before that year began. In the last of the second Bush Administration, no funding bills were passed before the fiscal year began.
The legislation passed by a vote of 320-97. Two hundred and forty-one Democrats and seventy-nine Republicans voted “aye”. Ninety Republicans and seven Democrats voted “nay”. As a result, the House passed and sent on to the Senate the bill providing fiscal year 2010 funds for energy and water development.