On September 9, by a vote of 47 to 47, the Senate refused to waive the Budget Act and consider an amendment to the Health and Human Services appropriations bill that would increase Head Start spending. The motion required 60 votes to allow for further consideration of the amendment.
“This amendment increases the Head Start appropriation by $350 million above the increase recommended by the Appropriations Committee for the coming fiscal year,” said Sen. Chris Dodd (D.-Conn.), the amendment’s sponsor. Had the amendment passed, the total spending increase would have been $500 billion.
“Very briefly, what this means, in the absence of this amendment being adopted, we will have to cut the number of children who are presently in Head Start programs,” said Dodd. “With the adoption of this amendment of $350 million, we can increase the enrollment by 36,000 children in Head Start programs across the country.”
Liberal Sen. Arlen Specter (R.-Pa.) opposed Dodd’s amendment, but only reluctantly. “I just wish we had the funds available now to add the $350 million requested by the Senator from Connecticut,” said Specter. “For next year, we have funded an increase in Head Start for almost $150 million. Regrettably, we are stretched very thin with respect to the budget we have here, on the budget resolution and on the allocation to this subcommittee.”
“You can’t squeeze blood out of a turnip and this bill has turned into a turnip,” said Specter.
A “yes” vote was a vote to waive the Budget Act and allow an up-or-down vote on increasing Head Start spending. It was, in effect, a vote for the spending hike. A “no” vote was a vote against the motion, and was, in effect, a vote to kill the amendment and a vote against the spending increase.
|FOR THE MOTION: 47||AGAINST THE MOTION: 47|
|REPUBLICANS FOR (3):
DEMOCRATS FOR (43):
INDEPENDENT FOR (1):
|REPUBLICANS AGAINST (46):
DEMOCRATS AGAINST (1):
NOT VOTING: 6
|REPUBLICANS (2):||DEMOCRATS (4):|