This vote was on a motion to send the fiscal 2009 appropriations bill back to the Appropriations Committee with instructions to reduce funding levels by a total of $22.2 billion. The motion was offered to a bill that would fund most domestic agencies in fiscal 2009.
Ensign said this would have the effect of freezing spending at 2008 levels.
“My amendment says that we give spending a little haircut around here. It is not significant. It is saying that at a time when we recently passed a stimulus package, which tremendously increased Government spending, let us not take last year’s spending bills and also tremendously increase their levels of spending. The current omnibus proposes an 8-percent growth in the size of our Government from one year to the next. We are talking about a record deficit this year. $1.75 trillion is a big number; people can’t even get their arms around that number,” Ensign said.
Patty Murray, D-Wash., said passing this bill is vital in order to ensure the smooth functioning of the government and its many responsibilities, which impact Americans every day.
“The amendment of the Senator from Nevada that now comes before us sends us into a tailspin. It says we are going to send these bills back to the Appropriations Committee to cut some $20 billion out of them and come back to us. First of all, just from a process point of view, this is not going to happen by this Friday, and if we do not get this bill passed by this Friday, the Government shuts down,” Murray said. “The fact is, to send this bill back to the Appropriations Committee and tell them to cut $20 billion out of it, that will underfund critical initiatives this Senate and this House believe are important.”
By a vote of 33-61, the motion was rejected. Every Democrat present voted against the motion. Of Republicans present, 33 voted for the motion and 6 voted against it. The end result is that a motion to send a fiscal 2009 spending bill back to the committee to have $20 billion trimmed was defeated.