Connect with us
-Senate Nixes Bloated Spending in FY 2003 Appropriations Bill<br>-GOP Senators Sink Another Amendment To Hike Spending<br>-Senate Rejects Kennedy Push for $6 Billion in Education Funding

archive

Roll Calls: Senate GOP Holds Line, Defeats Democratic Attempts to Bloat Budget

-Senate Nixes Bloated Spending in FY 2003 Appropriations Bill
-GOP Senators Sink Another Amendment To Hike Spending
-Senate Rejects Kennedy Push for $6 Billion in Education Funding

Last week, even as the President prepared to submit a budget proposal for fiscal 2004, the U.S. Senate-thanks to a year of Democratic foot-dragging-had still failed to pass 11 of the 13 spending bills that fund the government during fiscal 2003. To that end, the Senate-now under new management-considered the remaining spending bills, all rolled into one.

In one of the first tests of Bill Frist (R.-Tenn.) as Senate majority leader, Democrats tried to bloat the omnibus spending package (H.J. Res. 2) by adding money for “homeland security” and education, complaining that the very fate of the Republic hung on the passage of their pork-laden bills.

But the narrow GOP Senate majority held the line, even in the absence of Sen. Chuck Hagel (R.-Neb.), whose mother had just died. Along with moderate Sen. Zell Miller (D.-Ga.), all 50 Republican senators stuck together to hold the line on spending against amendments proposed by Senators Ted Kennedy (D.-Mass.) and Robert Byrd (D.-W.Va.).

ROLL CALL:
Senate Nixes Bloated Spending in FY 2003 Appropriations Bill

On January 16, by a vote of 45 to 51, the Senate rejected a Democrat-sponsored resolution that would have added $5 billion in homeland security funding to the omnibus appropriations bill for fiscal 2003 (H.J. Res. 2). The Senate was trying to finish action on the appropriations bills from last year because the Democratic Senate-which had never produced its own budget-had blocked passage of most of the measures that fund the federal government.

Republicans pointed out that the amendment was throwing additional money at departments that still had leftover money from last year.

In addition, the amendment would have given $1.4 billion to state and local governments, whose profligate spending has resulted in budget deficits across the country.

Sen. Robert Byrd (D.-W.Va.), well known for his love of expansive pork-barrel spending and expansive floor speeches, proposed the amendment. On the Senate floor, Byrd passionately accused President Bush of not backing up his post-September 11 promises with resources.

“Not only has President Bush failed-failed, failed-to lead the nation in addressing these vulnerabilities, he has in fact actively opposed efforts to provide the resources necessary to address these significant weaknesses,” he said. “This senator is just not going to take this lying down. I don’t care how popular Mr. Bush may be. I answer to my constituents, I answer to my Constitution, and I answer to my conscience.”

Byrd was following a strategy Democrats have adopted since their disastrous defeat in the 2002 midterm elections. Prominent Democrats have begun accusing the President of not doing enough to secure the homeland, even though they themselves oppose several steps that would go furthest to protect the homeland: basic immigration reform and a missile defense system. Democrats, however, apparently believe their strategy will allow them to blame the President if another massive terrorist attack hits the United States before the 2004 election.

Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) skipped the dramatics and gave the basic facts. “It doesn’t do us any good to pass bills that contain surplus money that cannot be spent in this fiscal year,” he said.

He pointed out that Byrd was not giving adequate reasons the government needs the extra money to fund homeland security initiatives. Rather, Byrd’s amendment was merely an attempt to inflate the budget and spend extra money beyond the President’s total request. “We have ample money for every function of homeland security that I know of in this bill,” he said. “[Byrd’s] amendment does not address how much money is required for homeland security but whether we should go beyond the President’s total request for homeland security.”

A yes vote was to vote to hike the 2003 Homeland Security budget. It was also a vote for an additional $1.4 billion in grants to state and local governments. A no vote was a vote against the extra spending. The President opposed the amendment.

FOR THE AMENDMENT: 45

REPUBLICANS FOR (0):
DEMOCRATS FOR (44): Akaka, Baucus, Bayh, Biden, Bingaman, Boxer, Breaux, Byrd, Cantwell, Carper, Clinton, Corzine, Daschle, Dayton, Dodd, Dorgan, Durbin, Feingold, Feinstein, Graham (Fla.), Harkin, Hollings, Inouye, Johnson, Kennedy, Kohl, Landrieu, Lautenberg, Leahy, Levin, Lieberman, Lincoln, Mikulski, Murray, Nelson (Fla.), Nelson (Neb.), Pryor, Reed (R.I.), Reid (Nev.), Rockefeller, Sarbanes, Schumer, Stabenow and Wyden.
INDEPENDENT FOR (1): Jeffords.

AGAINST THE AMENDMENT: 51

REPUBLICANS AGAINST (50): Alexander, Allard, Allen, Bennett, Bond, Brownback, Bunning, Burns, Campbell, Chafee, Chambliss, Cochran, Coleman, Collins, Cornyn, Craig, Crapo, DeWine, Dole, Domenici, Ensign, Enzi, Fitzgerald, Frist, Graham (S.C.), Grassley, Gregg, Hatch, Hutchison, Inhofe, Kyl, Lott, Lugar, McCain, McConnell, Murkowski, Nickles, Roberts, Santorum, Sessions, Shelby, Smith, Snowe, Specter, Stevens, Sununu, Talent, Thomas, Voinovich and Warner.
DEMOCRAT AGAINST (1): Miller.

NOT VOTING (4): Conrad, Edwards, Hagel and Kerry.

ROLL CALL:
GOP Senators Sink Another Amendment To Hike Spending

On January 16, by a vote of 45 to 51, Senate Republicans remained solid in rejecting amendments to the fiscal 2003 omnibus appropriations bill (H J Res. 2) that would hike spending.

Sen. Robert Byrd (D.-W.Va.), rebuffed in his attempt to add $5 billion in new spending on Homeland Security (see rollcall above), in this amendment cut his request to $3 billion more. However, he still came up empty-handed.

Using a different rhetorical approach, Byrd delivered almost a pep talk to his fellow members on the floor.

“Now listen to me, colleagues,” he said. “You are going to have to answer to the American people for your vote. . . [Y]ou may say, well, I am ready. That is all right. You be ready. You be ready. And the record will follow you. The record will follow you.”

Pointing to extra proposed spending that he said would increase the security of cargo aboard airplanes, Byrd also joined his cause with the Divine.

“Your life and the lives of others who ride those cargo planes are in the hands of God,” he said. “He isn’t getting much help from this administration, and He isn’t getting much help from the Congress of the United States as reflected by this last vote, for example.”

But if God required passage of the Byrd amendment to make His job easier, He did not immediately make it known.

Byrd’s amendment would have added $750 million in new spending for border security, $200 million for security at nuclear facilities, $850 million for smallpox vaccinations, $200 million to improve communication between first responder agencies, $1.1 billion for aviation and port security, and $100 million for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Sen. Ted Stevens (R.-Alaska) stood by his original position in the dispute, that the additional money was not needed on top of what the President had already requested.

“I must tell the senator, I continue to oppose his efforts to increase the amount of money that would be available to be spent during the fiscal year 2003,” he said. “I do so with great respect but with total confidence that each of these agencies has enough money to go forward. If they run into problems that are really serious, we can act expeditiously to meet them.”

A “yes” vote was a vote to pass a Democrat-backed amendment to add $3 billion in new spending for Homeland Security. A “no” vote was a vote to keep 2003 spending at the same level. The President opposed the amendment.

FOR THE AMENDMENT: 45

REPUBLICANS FOR (0):
DEMOCRATS FOR (44): Akaka, Baucus, Bayh, Biden, Bingaman, Boxer, Breaux, Byrd, Cantwell, Carper, Clinton, Corzine, Daschle, Dayton, Dodd, Dorgan, Durbin, Feingold, Feinstein, Graham (Fla.), Harkin, Hollings, Inouye, Johnson, Kennedy, Kohl, Landrieu, Lautenberg, Leahy, Levin, Lieberman, Lincoln, Mikulski, Murray, Nelson (Fla.), Nelson (Neb.), Pryor, Reed (R.I.), Reid (Nev.), Rockefeller, Sarbanes, Schumer, Stabenow and Wyden.
INDEPENDENT FOR (1): Jeffords.

AGAINST THE AMENDMENT (51)

REPUBLICANS AGAINST (50): Alexander, Allard, Allen, Bennett, Bond, Brownback, Bunning, Burns, Campbell, Chafee, Chambliss, Cochran, Coleman, Collins, Cornyn, Craig, Crapo, DeWine, Dole, Domenici, Ensign, Enzi, Fitzgerald, Frist, Graham (S.C.), Grassley, Gregg, Hatch, Hutchison, Inhofe, Kyl, Lott, Lugar, McCain, McConnell, Murkowski, Nickles, Roberts, Santorum, Sessions, Shelby, Smith, Snowe, Specter, Stevens, Sununu, Talent, Thomas, Voinovich and Warner.
DEMOCRAT AGAINST (1): Miller.

NOT VOTING (4): Conrad, Edwards, Hagel and Kerry.

ROLL CALL:
Senate Rejects Kennedy Push for $6 Billion in Education Funding

On January 16, by a vote of 46 to 51, the Senate rejected an amendment by Sen. Ted Kennedy (D.-Mass.) to provide $6 billion in additional federal education funding beyond President Bush’s request in the budget for fiscal 2003.

Kennedy’s amendment, which had 13 Democratic co-sponsors, was such an obvious attempt to pander to the education establishment that not even liberal Sen. Lincoln Chafee (R.-R.I.), a self-styled education champion, broke party ranks to support it. The 46-to-51 vote marked the third time in the same day that the new Republican Senate majority hung tough against Democratic attempts to add new money to the 2003 appropriations bill. (See rollcalls above.)

In arguing for the extra spending, Kennedy criticized Bush for failing to fully fund the No Children Left Behind Act of 2001, which Kennedy co-authored.

“We have to ask ourselves today, who is failing in meeting their responsibilities?” Kennedy asked. “It is right here in the Congress of the United States that we are failing the children of America.”

Sen. Christopher Dodd (D.-Conn.) criticized the administration for spending less than the full amount allowed by the law, calling this a “budget cut.” “We have already seen the budget cuts, some $4.6 billion short of the promise made when the President signed into law the $16 billion authorization level,” said Dodd. “Yet hardly before the ink was dry on that commitment we saw the cuts come in.”

Sen. Tom Harkin (D.-Iowa) made sure to insert some class warfare rhetoric into the debate. “Well, it is a funny thing about money,” he said. “It sure comes in handy when tax cuts are being given to the rich. . . . But when it comes to education, President Bush’s education plan sounds more like that old beer ad, the Miller Lite ad: great tests, less funding.”

Judd Gregg (R.-N.H.), however, pointed the educational benefits of reducing taxes: “This tax cut the President put in place, which benefits moderate-income Americans as they attempt to educate their children with cash in their pockets, which they can then put into the savings vehicles and other vehicles that assist them as their children get ready for college-and also assist in the elementary and secondary school area-also helped teachers by giving them some deductions that they didn’t have before as they spend money in doing things relative to their classrooms, such as buying books, maps, and things such as that.”

Sen. George Voinovich (R.-Ohio) was one of the few who mentioned that the word “education” does not appear anywhere in the U.S. Constitution.

“Education has been and should continue to be a state and local responsibility,” Voinovich said, adding that he had voted against the No Child Left Behind Act. “The excessive spending within the bill provided unrealistic expectations.”

A “yes” vote was a vote to increase 2003 federal education spending by another $6 billion. A “no” vote was a vote against the Kennedy amendment.

FOR THE AMENDMENT: 46

REPUBLICANS FOR (0):
DEMOCRATS FOR (45): Akaka, Baucus, Bayh, Biden, Bingaman, Boxer, Breaux, Byrd, Cantwell, Carper, Clinton, Conrad, Corzine, Daschle, Dayton, Dodd, Dorgan, Durbin, Feingold, Feinstein, Graham (Fla.), Harkin, Hollings, Inouye, Johnson, Kennedy, Kohl, Landrieu, Lautenberg, Leahy, Levin, Lieberman, Lincoln, Mikulski, Murray, Nelson (Fla.), Nelson (Neb.), Pryor, Reed (R.I.), Reid (Nev.), Rockefeller, Sarbanes, Schumer, Stabenow and Wyden.
INDEPENDENT FOR (1): Jeffords.

AGAINST THE AMENDMENT: 51

REPUBLICANS AGAINST (50): Alexander, Allard, Allen, Bennett, Bond, Brownback, Bunning, Burns, Campbell, Chafee, Chambliss, Cochran, Coleman, Collins, Cornyn, Craig, Crapo, DeWine, Dole, Domenici, Ensign, Enzi, Fitzgerald, Frist, Graham (S.C.), Grassley, Gregg, Hatch, Hutchison, Inhofe, Kyl, Lott, Lugar, McCain, McConnell, Murkowski, Nickles, Roberts, Santorum, Sessions, Shelby, Smith, Snowe, Specter, Stevens, Sununu, Talent, Thomas, Voinovich and Warner.
DEMOCRAT AGAINST (1): Miller.

NOT VOTING (3): Edwards, Hagel and Kerry.

Written By

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

TRENDING NOW:

Connect