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 directors, 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 years deficit.
“What it really means is that it doesnt 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):
DEMOCRATS FOR (40):
INDEPENDENT FOR (1):
|REPUBLICANS AGAINST (21):
DEMOCRATS AGAINST (0):
NOT VOTING: 8
|REPUBLICANS (0):||DEMOCRATS (8):|