(H. J. Res. 44) Legislation funding the federal government through March 18, 2011 and cutting $4 billion from government programs, including renewable energy research, aid to poorly performing schools, and urban economic development initiatives – On the resolution setting a time limit for debate and prohibiting amendments to the bill.
This was a vote on a resolution setting a time limit for debate and prohibiting amendments to legislation funding the federal government through March 18, 2011. The short-term government funding bill—known as a “continuing resolution,” or “CR,” cut $4 billion from government programs, including renewable energy research, aid to poorly performing schools, and urban economic development initiatives.
Two weeks earlier, the House had passed a continuing resolution to fund the government through September 2011 (the end of the federal government’s fiscal year), and cut $60 billion from federal programs. The Senate, however, took no action on that measure, and President Obama had threatened to veto it. Thus, the House brought up this two-week continuing resolution to fund the government through March 18 while congressional leaders negotiated with the Obama administration on a long-term funding bill.
Rep. Rob Woodall (R-GA) urged support for the resolution and the underlying bill, arguing the budget cuts contained in the CR could be implemented relatively painlessly: “…To put these cuts in perspective, because, again, we have to get started somewhere, there is not going to be a speaker who stands up here today who doesn't speak out in favor of fiscal restraint. The questions are: When do we start? How much do we do?...Let's take the average American family who has to go out and buy groceries. That family has a 31-day grocery bill. Knowing that you've got to go out and buy 31 days' worth of groceries, what we're asking of the American people is to cut 1 day out. We're going to tell you now that we're going to cut 1 day out, and we need you to stretch your 30-days' worth of groceries into 31…. that doesn't seem that draconian. In fact, it doesn't seem draconian at all. It seems like what American families are doing over and over and over again in the recession that we've been battling.”
Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ) argued the CR’s budget cuts could lead to job losses, and that such short-term government funding bills create too much economic uncertainty: “My fear is that we're just going to be kicking the can down the road every 2 weeks, every 2 weeks, facing another possible government shutdown…. that creates economic uncertainty and is not good for the economy.…We need to make wise investments in our future, in our education programs--which this [CR] cuts--in our research and development for the future, in infrastructure so that we can have roads and highways and mass transit so that commerce can continue and we can grow the economy.…So what I ask of my Republican colleagues is go out there, sit down with the Senate Democrats sit down with the House Democrats. Don't just say take it or leave this bill that we know has such draconian cuts and doesn't do anything to invest in America's future.”
The House agreed to this resolution by a vote of 251-170. Voting “yea” were 236 Republicans and 15 Democrats. 170 Democrats voted “nay.” As a result, the House proceeded to formal floor debate on legislation funding the federal government through March 18, 2011 and cutting $4 billion from government programs, including renewable energy research, aid to poorly performing schools, and urban economic development initiatives.