This was on passage of legislation providing nearly $450 billion in fiscal year 2010 funding for several federal departments. The House and Senate had passed different versions of H.R. 3288, the bill providing fiscal year 2010 funding for the Departments of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Transportation. When the two Houses of Congress pass different versions of the same bill, a final version is typically negotiated in a conference between both bodies. The original version of the legislation did provide funding only for the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Transportation. Since fiscal year 2010 was well under way, the Democratic majority decided to add 2010 funding for several other departments to the legislation during the conference.
Rep. Olver (D-MA) led the support for the legislation. He focused on the transportation and housing portion of the bill and said “it demonstrates our mutual commitment to investing in our nation's housing and transportation infrastructure; our mutual commitment to maintaining critical services in urban and rural communities; our mutual commitment to vulnerable populations such as the elderly and disabled; our mutual commitment to building sustainable communities for our nation's families; and our mutual commitment to maintaining an efficient and safe transportation system that contributes to America's place in a global economy.” Regarding the entire legislation, Olver said that it “strengthens the foundation upon which our economic turnaround is being built.”
Rep. Latham (R-IA) was leading the opposition to the bill. He said that it was “unfortunate that . . . Rep. Olver is forced to carry five other (spending) bills with him (in addition to that which funds transportation and housing), bills that should be considered on their own as conference reports.” Latham added that “we could have and should have been able to bring the Transportation-Housing and Urban Development conference report to the floor by the end of the fiscal year. Instead, here we are today 3 months into the fiscal year . . . .” Latham said each of the other measures should have been considered as a “stand-alone bill.” He went on to note that the funding for three of the departments provided in H.R. 3288 was not even “considered in the Senate and (is) buried in this package.”
Latham then pointed to a recent non-binding House vote that instructed the House Members who were designated to develop a final version of the Transportation-Housing and Urban Development funding bill with the Senate not to include the funding for any other departments in the conference report. He added: “Instead, against the wishes of the House, we've added five bills to this conference report.” Latham concluded by saying “I regret very much that I am unable to support this bill . . . However, the price tag . . . is simply too high.”
The legislation passed by a vote of 221-202. All two hundred and twenty-one “aye” votes were cast by Democrats. Twenty-eight other Democrats joined all one hundred and seventy-four Republicans and voted “nay”. As a result, the House passed and sent on to the Senate legislation providing fiscal year 2010 funding for several federal departments.