Roll Call: Senate Won’t Prevent Studies On Outsourcing

On September 23, by a vote of 44 to 51, the Senate rejected an amendment by Sen. Harry Reid (D.-Nev.) that would have prevented the use of funds in the Department of the Interior appropriations bill (H.R. 2691) to study the outsourcing of jobs at Interior and its related agencies.

The amendment, Reid explained, “will stop this administration from moving forward to privatize our national parks, forest lands, and other public lands. It would nip the administration’s ill-conceived privatization plan in the bud. More specifically, this amendment prohibits the expenditure of funds on new outsourcing studies.”

The administration has sought to outsource perhaps as many as 900,000 federal jobs. This outsourcing has a two-fold benefit: In addition to saving taxpayers millions of dollars, the outsourcing weakens the political strength of the public sector unions, much of whose dues money goes straight to the Democratic Party and its candidates in every election.

So beholden to Big Labor is Reid that his amendment would have prevented even privatization studies on positions in the Department of the Interior and related agencies. “These agencies were created to protect special places in nature as a legacy for future generations,” said Reid. “They should be managed for posterity and not managed for profit.” Since private workers can easily do these jobs, the real bottom line of Reid’s argument was that U.S. Park Service workers may not be able to continue with their coveted civil service status, and Democrats may stop getting their compulsory union dues.

“Many of the Park Service personnel are neighbors and our friends,” said Reid. “They care deeply about what they do,” he added, as though Americans holding jobs in the private sector are somehow less likely to be neighbors or care about what they do. Moreover, this anecdotal argument about Park Service workers being “neighbors and friends” does not mean their jobs should be preserved, any more than last year’s devastating Colorado wildfire, set by an angry Forest Service employee, means their jobs should be outsourced or eliminated.

Republicans did not oppose Reid’s amendment in debate on the floor, but they generally stuck together in opposing it when it was time to vote.

The rollcall would have been much closer, except that the Democratic presidential candidates were not present to vote.

A “yes” vote was a vote for the Reid amendment to prevent even a study of the advisability of outsourcing some bureaucrats’ jobs at the Department of the Interior. A “no” vote was a vote against the amendment.

FOR THE AMENDMENT: 44 AGAINST THE AMENDMENT: 51
REPUBLICANS FOR (4):
Chafee
Murkowski
Snowe
Specter

DEMOCRATS FOR (39):
Akaka
Bayh
Biden
Bingaman
Boxer
Byrd
Cantwell
Carper
Clinton
Conrad
Corzine
Daschle
Dayton
Dorgan
Durbin
Feingold
Feinstein
Harkin
Hollings
Inouye
Johnson
Kennedy
Kohl
Landrieu
Lautenberg
Leahy
Levin
Lincoln
Mikulski
Murray
Nelson (Fla.)
Pryor
Reed (R.I.)
Reid (Nev.)
Rockefeller
Sarbanes
Schumer
Stabenow
Wyden

INDEPENDENT FOR (1):
Jeffords

REPUBLICANS AGAINST (47):
Alexander
Allard
Allen
Bennett
Bond
Brownback
Bunning
Burns
Campbell
Chambliss
Cochran
Coleman
Collins
Cornyn
Craig
Crapo
DeWine
Dole
Domenici
Ensign
Enzi
Fitzgerald
Frist
Graham (S.C.)
Grassley
Gregg
Hagel
Hatch
Hutchison
Inhofe
Kyl
Lott
Lugar
McCain
McConnell
Nickles
Roberts
Santorum
Sessions
Shelby
Smith
Stevens
Sununu
Talent
Thomas
Voinovich
Warner

DEMOCRATS AGAINST (4):
Baucus
Breaux
Miller
Nelson (Neb.)

NOT VOTING: 5

REPUBLICANS (0): DEMOCRATS (5):
Dodd
Edwards
Graham (Fla.)
Kerry
Lieberman


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