What: All Issues : Making Government Work for Everyone, Not Just the Rich or Powerful : Adequate Government Funding for a Broad Range of Human Needs : (H.Res. 184) Legislation containing nine separate funding measures amounting to over $400 billion for the 2009 fiscal year - - on a procedural vote to determine whether the House should take up the resolution setting the terms for debating the bill (2009 house Roll Call 83)
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(H.Res. 184) Legislation containing nine separate funding measures amounting to over $400 billion for the 2009 fiscal year - - on a procedural vote to determine whether the House should take up the resolution setting the terms for debating the bill
house Roll Call 83     Feb 25, 2009
Progressive Position:
Yea
Progressive Result:
Win
Qualifies as polarizing?
Yes
Is this vote crucial?
No

H.R. 1105 contained nine separate funding measures amounting to over $400 billion for the 2009 fiscal year. This was a procedural vote on whether the House should consider the resolution or “rule” setting the terms for debating H. R. 1105. When the rule for H.R. 1105 was brought up, Rep. Flake (R-AZ) raised a point of order against it. He said that the rule violated the Congressional Budget Act because it allowed for the House to consider H.R. 1105, even though the bill contained “unfunded mandates” - - a term that refers to language in any piece of federal legislation that requires states to spend money on a program without providing the money to pay for the program. The decision on the point of order was to be determined by the outcome of the vote on H. Res. 184 - - an affirmative vote would override the point of order and allow the House to debate the funding bill; a negative vote would mean the point of order prevailed, and the “unfunded mandates” would have to be removed from the funding bill before the House could debate it.

Rep. McGovern (D-MA), speaking for the Democratic majority, said that “(T)echnically, the point of order is about whether or not to consider this rule and ultimately the underlying bill. But we all know that it's really about trying to block this bill without any opportunity for debate and without any opportunity for an up-or-down vote on the merits of the legislation itself. McGovern added that “(T)he underlying bill . . . (contains) important funding . . . for health care, for education, for transportation, to help move our economy forward (and those) who oppose the bill can vote against it on final.” He also said, “as far as I know, there are no unfunded mandates in this bill.” Flake’s retort was:” As far as I know, there might be, there may not be.  But I can tell you, when you have a bill this large that we got just 48 hours ago, we simply don't know.”

Before a bill can be considered on the House floor, the House must debate and approve a resolution or “rule” setting the framework under which the bill is to be considered. This resolution often includes provisions enumerating the amendments that may be offered to the bill, and whether certain points of order that would ordinarily prevail would be waived.

Rep. Flake was a consistent opponent of what he deemed to be wasteful federal spending and of mandates. Referring to the fact that the bill was very long and was available less than 48 hours prior to its consideration, he said “we have no idea whether this contains unfunded mandates or not. It . . . is a combination of nine bills, only three of which went even through the Committee on Appropriations.” He also said that funding bills typically come to the House floor under a rule that has no restrictions.

Rep. McGovern responded by arguing that there had been more transparency in the funding process since the Democrats took control of the Congress in 2006. McGovern also claimed that the measure represented a bipartisan effort and that: “(I)f we delay, I think it will have a negative impact on our economy.”

The resolution passed by a vote of 234-177. Two hundred and thirty-three Democrats and one Republican voted “aye”. One hundred and sixty-nine Republicans and eight Democrats voted “nay”. As a result, the House was able to begin debating the legislation containing nine separate funding measures amounting to over $400 billion for the 2009 fiscal year. 

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