This vote was on a motion by Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, to send a funding bill back to the Appropriations Committee for a rewrite. Specifically the motion calls for cutting non-military and homeland security-related funding to fiscal 2008 levels, adjusted for inflation. The motion specifies that the cuts should be made to items that are non-essential or duplicative of funding handed out in the economic stimulus law. The motion was made to the bill that funds most domestic agencies in fiscal 2009.
Hutchison said given the huge amount of money just enacted as part of a nearly $1 trillion economic stimulus bill, Congress should try to find ways to trim some of its normal annual spending, particularly in areas that received money in the stimulus package.
"I urge my colleagues to pass this amendment. Let us show the American people that we do understand we should have fiscal responsibility and restraint, as every household in this country is experiencing right now; and that from now forward our appropriations bills are going to be in the regular order; that we are going to have a budget, and we are going to live within that budget, and we are not going to add 5 percent or 8 percent and then bring it over here and pass it with no amendments. That is business as usual. That is not change, it is not bipartisanship, and it is not acceptable," Hutchison said.
Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, said the bill was approved by the committee in a bipartisan fashion and that it contains important initiatives America needs. He also said the argument that the stimulus funding overlaps appropriated funding is erroneous.
"Once again, the argument in favor of cutting the [bill] is that there is overlap between the funds in the Recovery Act and in the [bill]. As I have noted previously, this simply is not the case. The funds in the Recovery Act are either unrelated to the omnibus or were assumed in the levels approved by the Recovery Act," Inouye said.
By a vote of 40-55, the motion was rejected. All but four Republicans present voted for the motion. All but five Democrats present voted against the motion. The end result is that a motion that would have sent a funding bill back to committee to shave non-defense spending back to 2008 levels was defeated.