Roll Call: Senate Tables Amendment To Nix AmeriCorps

On July 11, by a vote of 71 to 21, the Senate voted to table an amendment by Sen. Jeff Sessions (R.-Ala.) to the emergency supplemental spending bill for fiscal 2003 (H.R. 2657). The amendment would have eliminated the additional amount of grants for programs under the National and Community Service Act of 1990, such as the badly mismanaged and wasteful AmeriCorps program.

Sessions and proponents of the amendment did not want to reward AmeriCorps-a needless social program that pays people to “volunteer”-for the fact that they came in $100 million over budget.

The programs director’s, along with some senators, were squealing that the funds had to be distributed from the emergency supplemental bill. This is a clever accounting gimmick, because those funds will not count against the current year’s deficit.

“What it really means is that it doesn’t count against the budget,” said Sessions. “One great way to get something done that one wants done in their district is to tack it on to an emergency supplemental. Of course, it does add to the deficit and to our debt. It is real money and it is a real expenditure.”

Conservative Sessions made the astute observation that in the emergency supplemental, “we have disaster relief, space shuttle accident, wildfires, and AmeriCorps. I do not think it belongs on this list,” he said.

Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D.-Md.) voiced partial agreement with Sessions, citing the Veterans’ Affairs/Housing & Urban Development subcommittee giving AmeriCorps funds for 50,000 volunteers when it actually had 70,000. However, she added, “If this supplemental does not occur, 20,000 volunteers will lose their slots, like in Teach America,” she said.

Countered Sessions, “I did not realize the program has been mismanaged as badly as [Mikulski] just has stated. So it seems to me that we are giving the subcommittee extra money to finance that mismanagement without it coming out of its appropriated amount by shifting it purely to debt.”

Nonetheless, Sessions’ amendment was trounced.

A “yes” vote was a vote to table (kill) Sessions’ proposed amendment to prohibit funding for Americorps from emergency supplemental funds. A “no” vote was, in effect, a vote in favor of the amendment to save taxpayer dollars from going toward completely wasteful social programs like Americorps.

FOR THE MOTION TO TABLE: 71 AGAINST THE MOTION TO TABLE: 21
REPUBLICANS FOR (30):
Alexander
Bennett
Bond
Burns
Campbell
Chafee
Chambliss
Coleman
Collins
DeWine
Dole
Domenici
Frist
Grassley
Gregg
Hagel
Hutchison
Lugar
McCain
Murkowski
Roberts
Santorum
Shelby
Smith
Snowe
Specter
Stevens
Sununu
Talent
Warner

DEMOCRATS FOR (40):
Akaka
Baucus
Bayh
Biden
Bingaman
Breaux
Byrd
Cantwell
Carper
Clinton
Conrad
Corzine
Daschle
Dayton
Dodd
Dorgan
Durbin
Feingold
Feinstein
Harkin
Inouye
Johnson
Kennedy
Kohl
Landrieu
Lautenberg
Leahy
Levin
Lincoln
Mikulski
Nelson (Fla.)
Nelson (Neb.)
Pryor
Reed (R.I.)
Reid (Nev.)
Rockefeller
Sarbanes
Schumer
Stabenow
Wyden

INDEPENDENT FOR (1):
Jeffords

REPUBLICANS AGAINST (21):
Allard
Allen
Brownback
Bunning
Cochran
Cornyn
Craig
Crapo
Ensign
Enzi
Fitzgerald
Graham (S.C.)
Hatch
Inhofe
Kyl
Lott
McConnell
Nickles
Sessions
Thomas
Voinovich

DEMOCRATS AGAINST (0):

NOT VOTING: 8

REPUBLICANS (0): DEMOCRATS (8):
Boxer
Edwards
Graham (Fla.)
Hollings
Kerry
Lieberman
Miller
Murray


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