What: All Issues : Making Government Work for Everyone, Not Just the Rich or Powerful : Infrastructure Funding : HR 2641. (Fiscal 2008 Energy and water spending) On passing a bill to fund energy and water projects in fiscal 2008/On passing the bill (2007 house Roll Call 641)
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HR 2641. (Fiscal 2008 Energy and water spending) On passing a bill to fund energy and water projects in fiscal 2008/On passing the bill
house Roll Call 641     Jul 17, 2007
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This vote was on passing a $31.6 billion bill that would fund energy and water development projects, including those at the Energy Department, Bureau of Reclamation and Army Corps of Engineers.  This sum includes funding for hundreds of water and wastewater infrastructure projects, as well as those related to locks, dams and inland waterways.

The measure would also appropriate $8.8 billion for the National Nuclear Security Administration and $494.5 million for a controversial proposed nuclear waste dump at Nevada’s Yucca Mountain. 

The bill also includes more than $1 billion in various water projects requested by members of Congress (often referred to as “earmarks”).  Most of the debate time on this bill was absorbed by Republicans’ unsuccessful attempts to curb or, in one case, completely erase, the earmarks in the measure. 

“When I see a group of earmarks that are going to institutions in Members’ districts, and I reflect upon the fact that we are now on a collision course to either double taxes on the next generation, or, for all intents and purposes, have no Federal Government, save Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, we have got to start saving the pennies. When we start saving the pennies, eventually, the dollars will take care of themselves,” said Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, in a comment that was typical of the debate.

Republicans mostly agreed with Hensarling, but some defended the practice of allowing members to set aside money for projects beneficial to their districts, and noted that the White House itself often makes its own earmark requests.

“I think this is a well done bill. I think the earmarks are essential to Congress doing its oversight. I wish, frankly, we could work better with the administration on their earmarks. We don’t know what they’re going to do. They don’t come and talk to us. Even in the hearings, we have no idea where they’re going to spend all their money on the projects they want,” said David Hobson, R-Ohio. 

By a vote of 312-112, the House passed the bill.  All but one Democrat present voted for the bill (Shelley Berkley of Nevada).  Of Republicans present, 86 voted for the bill and 111 voted against it.  The end result is that the House passed a bill that would provide $31.6 billion for energy and water projects in fiscal 2008.

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