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. This was a vote on a waiver of the procedural regulation. A simple majority was required to waive that two-thirds requirement.
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 rule for the bill approved on the same day as it was submitted. However, 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 therefore to eliminate 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 . . . we must act quickly to deliver the bills before us today . . . .” Pingree added that, if the waiver were approved, “the House will (be able to) take up (legislation) that will . . . make critical investments in the nation’s infrastructure in order to put people back to work.” She added: “There is real urgency in the actions before us today, and I truly hope that my colleagues . . . will join me . . . to allow us to move forward.”
Rep. Foxx (R-NC) was leading the opposition to the effort to waive the two-thirds vote regulation. She referred to the waiver vote as “same-day martial law.” Foxx argued 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.” She claimed that the reason the Democrats were trying to accelerate the process was that it was near the end of the session and “our Speaker and several Members are going to leave today to go to (a conference) . . . .”
The resolution waiving the procedural rule was approved by a vote of 218-202. All Two hundred and eighteen “aye” votes were cast by Democrats, including a majority of the most progressive Members. Twenty-nine other Democrats joined all one hundred and seventy-three Republicans and voted “nay”. As a result, the House waived 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.