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.R.1105 A measure that combined nine fiscal year 2009 appropriations bills covering most of the federal departments and agencies. (2009 house Roll Call 86)
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H.R.1105 A measure that combined nine fiscal year 2009 appropriations bills covering most of the federal departments and agencies.
house Roll Call 86     Feb 25, 2009
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This was a vote on The Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2009. The Act was a compilation of nine appropriation bills covering the operations of most federal departments and agencies, other than those related to defense, for the 2009 fiscal year ending on September 30, 2009. Total funding in the Act was $410 billion. The previous Congress and President Bush were unable to reach an agreement on these nine appropriations bills by October 1, 2008, the beginning of fiscal year 2009, and Congress had previously extended funding so these department and agencies could continue to operate at their fiscal year 2008 levels. In addition to providing funding for fiscal year 2009, The Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2009 made a few policy changes including no longer allowing Mexican trucks to operate widely in the U.S., making it easier for American citizens to visit immediate relatives in Cuba, stopping a plan to double the size of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, and extending the use of E-Verify, an Internet system that uses Social Security registration and other data bases, which employers can access to verify the employment eligibility of workers. It also included congressionally-directed spending, or earmarks, totaling about $7.7 billion. With respect to those earmarks, Appropriations Committee Chairman Obey (D-WI), who was managing the measure on the House floor, said that the earmark process followed in this Omnibus Act was far more transparent than “ in the so-called ‘good old days.’’’ In addition, the Act also rejected a cost of living increase for House Members.

The Omnibus Act was considered by the House shortly after Congress had passed a separate $787 economic stimulus and recovery act. Appropriations Committee Chairman Obey said the Omnibus Act “provides the base funding for programs that are funded in the recovery act, without which the additional recovery funding could not succeed”, and it “also funds numerous critical programs not funded in the recovery act.” He noted that the recovery act had no additional funding for 75 percent of government accounts and “so we simply provided those funds in this bill.”

Republicans opposed the 2009 Omnibus Act. They pointed to the fact that the Act increased spending for fiscal year 2009 by $32 billion, or more than 8% over the equivalent 2008 fiscal year spending levels. They contended that, given the large federal deficit and the increased spending in the stimulus package, the 2009 appropriations for the covered departments and agencies should be frozen at 2008 levels to demonstrate that Congress was taking the deficit very seriously. They also noted that they had previously asked Speaker Pelosi (D-CA) and House Majority Leader Hoyer (D-MD) to post the text of the Omnibus Act immediately after its final drafting, including all of the earmark and spending projects, but that the text of this very lengthy spending bill was posted only a day and a half before the vote on the Act. The Republicans claimed that this was not adequate time for a proper review.

The vote on the Act was 245 ayes and 178 nays. Two hundred and twenty-nine Democrats and sixteen Republicans voted “aye”. One hundred and thirty-eight Republicans and twenty Democrats voted “nay”. As a result, this $410 billion spending bill was approved by the House.

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