(H. Res, 609) Legislation providing fiscal year 2010 funding for the Department of Agriculture, rural development, and the Food and Drug Administration - - on agreeing to the resolution setting the terms for debating the bill
H.R.2997 provided fiscal year 2010 funding for the Department of Agriculture, rural development, and the Food and Drug Administration. This was a vote on the resolution or “rule” setting the terms for debating H.R.2997. The rule l permitted very few amendments to be offered during its consideration.
The Republican minority had been expressing its strong opposition to what it was claiming were the unfair limitations that the Democratic majority had been including in rules on this and other spending bills. Rep. Foxx (R-NC), a Member of the House Rules Committee, had been among the leading voices arguing against the rules that limited amendments. During the debate, she said: “(T)hroughout this appropriations season, the Democrat majority has taken unprecedented steps to silence both the minority and their own Democrat colleagues by offering all appropriations bills under (very restrictive) rules. This has consistently eliminated the ability of Members to speak up for how their constituents believe their money should be spent.”
Rep. Dreier (R-CA) added that approval of the rule “set a record (for) . . . the largest number of restrictive rules for consideration of appropriations in the history of the Republic.” He added “by virtue of the action that I suspect this House will take . . . the rights of the American people . . . are being subverted . . . (T)he new norm is a restrictive process shutting down the rights of Democrats and Republicans from having an opportunity to amend appropriations bills.”
Dreier acknowledged that the argument over a restrictive rule “is all inside baseball, but the fact of the matter is it comes down to the effort being made by the (Democratic) majority to (prevent) . . . Members from having an opportunity to bring about any kind of reduction in spending . . . .”
The Democratic majority took the position that a limitation on the number of amendments, and the resulting limitation on the length of debate, was needed in all the 2010 fiscal year spending bills. They argued this limitation was needed in order to meet the goal of enacting all the spending bills by the beginning of that fiscal year. In recent years, many spending bills had not been signed into law before the beginning of the fiscal year to which they applied.
Rep. McGovern (D-MA) was leading the support for the rule. He said that the Republicans “can complain all they want, but it won't feed a single hungry child. (They) can try all the obstructionist tactics that they want, but it won't save a single rural family farm . . . I think too many of my friends on the other side of the aisle seem to me more interested in delaying, obstructing, and killing important legislation than advancing it. That may be the advice of some high-priced political consultant at the Republican National Committee, but it is a bad way to serve the American people. Our side has repeatedly tried to reach out and reach an accommodation on debate and on amendments with the minority, only to be rebuffed.”
Rep. Farr (D-CA), a Democratic member of the Appropriations Committee disagreed with the Republican argument that they had been shut out, since he said they were permitted to appear at Appropriations Committee hearings and they participated in the committee process of actually drafting the bill.
The resolution passed by a vote of 238-186. Two hundred and thirty-seven Democrats and one Republican voted “aye”. One hundred and seventy-six Democrats and ten Republicans voted “nay”. As a result, the House was able to move to debate the bill providing fiscal year 2010 funding for the Department of Agriculture, rural development, and the Food and Drug Administration.