The Democratic majority wanted to move quickly on legislation providing fiscal year 2010 funding for the Departments of Defense and Commerce. To accomplish this, it needed to have the resolution or “rule” setting the terms for debating the funding bill approved on the same day as the rule was submitted to the House. However, there is a procedural regulation that ordinarily requires two-thirds of the Members to vote in favor any rule, if the rule is to be approved on the same day as it is submitted. There was not sufficient support to achieve the necessary two-thirds waiver vote for the same-day consideration of the rule for this legislation. The purpose of this motion was to move to an immediate vote on eliminating the application of that two-thirds vote requirement to the rule on the legislation.
Rep. Pingree (R-ME) was leading the effort on behalf of the waiver. She said that its approval “will allow the House to consider today important legislation, including legislation to ensure the funding of our military in addition to measures
to put people back to work . . . .” Pingree went on to say: “For those hit hardest by the recession, this bill also provides emergency relief . . . These are measures that we must pass to build a foundation for long-term economic recovery.”
Rep. Foxx (R-NC) was leading the opposition to the motion and to the effort to waive the regulation requiring a two-thirds vote. She referred to the proposed waiver vote as “same-day martial law.” Foxx said she understood “that there are times when we need to move quickly when we are faced with an immediate crisis. However, I think the word ‘crisis’ has been overused particularly this year.”
Foxx noted that the Rules Committee had met at 8:45 PM the previous evening and “we’ve had very little time to be able to deal with the (rule or the full substance of the H.R. 2847 legislation).” Foxx added that “we’ve known about this for a long, long time . . . what have we been doing during that period of time when we should have been preparing for this day?”
Foxx claimed this was another example of the Democratic majority “short-circuiting the legislative process so (they) can jam through another major spending bill without the benefit of Members or, more importantly, the citizens of this country having the opportunity to read it. This (waiver) . . . will let the House consider more than $1 trillion in spending , all done almost in the blink of an eye . . . let us not be fooled by this attempt to say that something is a crisis.”
The motion to have an immediate vote on waiving the two-thirds requirement passed by 226-192. All two hundred and twenty-six “aye” votes were cast by Democrats. Twenty other Democrats joined all one hundred and seventy-two Republicans and voted “nay”. As a result, the House moved to an immediate vote on waiving a procedural regulation that was preventing it from considering legislation providing fiscal year 2010 funding for the Departments of Defense and Commerce, the Justice Department and various other government agencies.