Split GOP helps House pass long-term spending measure

Fifty-seven Republicans broke ranks Wednesday to help Democrats pass a $463.5 billion fiscal 2007 spending bill to provide funding for more than a dozen Cabinet departments and scores of smaller agencies through the rest of the fiscal year.

House Republicans were clearly conflicted -- most did not like being shut out of the negotiations, some thought it spent too much money and others thought it spent too little.

Many did not want to be seen as opposing "must-pass" legislation providing benefits for veterans and active-duty military, education, job-training and local law-enforcement.

"When you're in the minority and you've got a $463 billion bill, you can criticize it both ways because it's a huge bill," said Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee ranking member Jack Kingston, R-Ga.

"I think the bigger conflict is when you don't have a unified vote, and that's been our big problem" both for the Democrats' "Six for '06" agenda and on the massive spending bill, he said.

That spending bill funds the remaining federal programs that were not contained in the Defense and Homeland Security appropriations bills that passed last year. It extends last year's budgets for most programs, but makes targeted increases and cuts in a variety of accounts while remaining within the budget cap set last year.

The vote was 286-140, a relatively lopsided outcome with the Republican defections. The bill now moves to the Senate, where Democratic leaders have a tougher task in obtaining the necessary 60 votes to cut off debate and pass the bill. The clock is ticking, as the current continuing resolution expires Feb. 15.

Despite lobbying from House Republican leaders and Appropriations ranking member Jerry Lewis, R-Calif., a surprising number of rank-and-file GOP lawmakers crossed party lines to vote for the package.

Even a handful of Republican members of the Appropriations Committee voted "yes," including Labor-Health and Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee ranking member James Walsh, R-N.Y.

Some Republicans who had criticized the measure for not funding their priorities wound up supporting it. Rep. Thelma Drake, R-Va., who complained that Democrats were funding base realignment and closure accounts at $3 billion below the White House request, voted for it. So did Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash., who complained it did not extend a program providing funds for rural school districts affected by declining timber sales.

Appropriations member Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, bucked Lewis in voting for the bill and GOP leaders as well by becoming the sole Republican to support the Democrats' rule for floor debate.

"There's some things in this I don't like, but it's hard for me to complain about it because we left them with such a pile of shit from the end of the last session," Simpson said. "Republicans were in charge in the House and Senate and we didn't do our job."

Lewis and GOP leaders did hold the party together -- mostly -- on a procedural vote that would have shifted nearly $600 million from projects funded in previous years, such as the now-infamous Iowa "indoor rainforest," to military housing, drug enforcement and deficit reduction.

That motion to recommit failed on a near party-line vote with Rep. Heather Wilson of New Mexico the sole GOP defector. The motion would have redirected funds in part from some Energy Department projects in her state.

Two Democrats voted against the underlying bill. Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio opposed it because it contains $6 billion for nuclear weapons research. He has voted against every Energy and Water spending bill since 2002.

Rep. Paul Kanjorski of Pennsylvania voted 'no' because there was not enough time to review funding cuts in the bill, his office said.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by Brocade

    Best of 2016 Federal Forum eBook

    Earlier this summer, Federal and tech industry leaders convened to talk security, machine learning, network modernization, DevOps, and much more at the 2016 Federal Forum. This eBook includes a useful summary highlighting the best content shared at the 2016 Federal Forum to help agencies modernize their network infrastructure.

    Download
  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    GBC Flash Poll Series: Merger & Acquisitions

    Download this GBC Flash Poll to learn more about federal perspectives on the impact of industry consolidation.

    Download
  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    A DevOps Roadmap for the Federal Government

    This GBC Report discusses how DevOps is steadily gaining traction among some of government's leading IT developers and agencies.

    Download
  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

    Download
  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    Joint Enterprise Licensing Agreements

    Read this eBook to learn how defense agencies can achieve savings and efficiencies with an Enterprise Software Agreement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Cloudera

    Government Forum Content Library

    Get all the essential resources needed for effective technology strategies in the federal landscape.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.