Monday, February 21, 2011

HR 1 Passed in House

Late on the legislative day on Friday, which was actually early on Saturday morning, the House passed HR 1 by a roll call vote of 235-189 on a mainly party line vote. The bill was debated over four days on the floor with 583 amendments offered. Of those 162 had some formal action taken on the floor. A total of 66 amendments were passed and 59 were rejected by recorded votes. A total of nine were withdrawn by their authors and 28 were rejected by the Chair due to their violations of House Rules.

Of the twenty amendments that had something to do with DHS spending only two were considered and passed; the Pascrell (D, NJ) amendment that I discussed in an earlier blog and one submitted by Rep. Lowey (X, XX) that limits the grants under the Urban Area Security Initiative under section 2003 of the Homeland Security Act of 2002 (6 U.S.C. 604) to no more than 25 high-risk urban areas.

While the Democrats found little to like in the final bill, and none voted for it, that was due to their lack of votes, not a lack of chances to have their voices or ideas heard. They certainly have a voting record that they can take to the voters in 2012 to see if their view of this budget proposal better matched that of the voters.

The bill will go to the Senate when both the Senate and House return from their President’s Day district work session on February 28th. It is unlikely to nearly the point of impossibility that HR 1 will be approved in its current form by the Senate. In fact, there is a very good chance that it will not be brought to the floor of the Senate for consideration.

The deadline of March 4th is unlikely to be met by ultimate passage of this bill. There is a lot of finger pointing and posturing on whether or not there will be any budget action by that date. President Obama has threatened to veto HR 1 if it does reach his desk in anything close to its current form and it is unlikely that there would be enough votes in the Senate to overturn such a veto.

The one thing that is likely when Congress returns next week is that there will be lots of yelling and screaming about the FY 2011 budget. And Congress still has to consider FY 2012 spending.

BTW: The 'engrossed' version of the bill is not yet available on the GPO web site due to the Presidents Day Holiday.

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