This was a vote on passage of the bill providing $3.7 billion for the operations of Congress. Rep. Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL), who was leading the support for the bill, said that Members of Congress “have responsibility not just for the institution, but for the staff that works for this institution, and to preserve the facilities that help support this institution. We have endeavored to do that responsibly, and I believe we have accomplished that goal.” She summarized the purpose of a large part of the funding in the bill as making sure the staff “can do the work they need to do in order for us to be able to serve our constituents in the most effective way possible.”
Wasserman-Schultz, who was leading the support for the measure, claimed that the Appropriations Committee had “tried to provide the right balance of funding in a prudent way for each existing office, agency, and program so that we can support the day-to-day operations of the Congress.” She concluded by saying: “(W)e have been able to provide for all mandatory cost increases and a limited number of program enhancements as well. In spite of the fact that we were able to do that, there were a number of things that we were unable to do because our focus during the markup of this bill was to fund the ‘gotta haves,’ not the ‘nice to haves.’”
Rep. Alderholt (R-AL), who was managing the bill for the Republicans, also supported its passage. In his floor statement, however, he referred back to the opposition the Republicans had raised to the fact that the resolution or “rule” setting the terms for debating the bill prohibited all but one amendment from being offered to H.R. 2918. Alderholt said “it is unfortunate that the bipartisan approach taken by our (appropriations) committee stopped at the doors of the Rules Committee . . . Traditionally, while not all amendments filed with the Rules Committee have been made in order, a much more balanced approach has been taken than what we are seeing today. Twenty amendments were filed with the Rules Committee and only one was made in order . . . Members should be permitted to debate the issues of concern to them. Members have once again been denied the right to offer amendments to an appropriation bill, a trend that's happening more often than not.”
Rep. Scalise (R-LA) echoed the concerns of Rep. Alderholt regarding the restriction on amendments and said he was opposing passage of the bill on those grounds. Scalise argued that “it's a sad day when someone attempts to cut spending in a bill that grows government by the size of 7 percent, in this case, and it is ruled out of order . . . some people in this leadership in Congress just don't get the fact that people want us to cut spending here in Washington, not spend at record levels.”
The legislation passed by a vote of 232-178. Two hundred and fourteen Democrats and eighteen Republicans voted “aye”. One hundred and fifty-one Republicans and twenty-seven Democrats voted “nay”. As a result, the House approved and sent to the Senate the bill providing fiscal year 2010 funding for congressional operations.