What: All Issues : Fair Taxation : Tax Breaks for the Rich : S Con Res 70. (Fiscal 2009 budget resolution) Motion to allow an amendment that would create a new budgetary rule against legislation that would raise income tax rates/On the motion
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S Con Res 70. (Fiscal 2009 budget resolution) Motion to allow an amendment that would create a new budgetary rule against legislation that would raise income tax rates/On the motion
senate Roll Call 61     Mar 13, 2008
Y = Conservative
N = Progressive
Winning Side:
Progressive

This vote was on whether to establish a new budgetary rule (known as a “point of order”) that would make it easier to defeat bills, amendments or motions if they are deemed to raise income tax rates.    A “point of order” is a procedural motion senators may bring up when they feel a bill, amendment or other motion violates certain rules set out by Congress to govern itself.  Unless senators vote to waive those rules – which usually takes 60 votes, a large margin in the Senate -- the bill, amendment or motion in question can be killed by the point of order. 

The amendment was offered to the budget resolution that serves as the blueprint for Congress’ budget priorities in fiscal 2009. The budget resolution sets overall spending targets for the Appropriations committees and outlines other budget rules.

“Mr. President, this amendment creates a 60-vote point of order against any legislation that will increase income tax rates on taxpayers, including, of course, middle-class families and others,” Cornyn said.  “I understand from the distinguished chairman of the Budget Committee he may offer a procedural objection to this amendment, but we are prepared at the appropriate time to offer a motion to waive any objection.”

Arguing that the amendment is not related (or “germane”) enough to the underlying bill, Kent Conrad, D-N.D., made a procedural motion that Cornyn’s amendment be struck down.  In some cases, when portions of a bill violate certain congressional rules, the bill can be quickly defeated with these procedural motions unless the Senate votes to waive the rule in question.  One of these Senate rules requires that amendments be related to the subject of the bill itself.  When Conrad moved to have the amendment defeated on the grounds that it was not “germane” enough to the underlying bill, Cornyn called a vote on waiving that Senate rule for his amendment.

By a vote of 58 yes to 40 no, the motion to waive the rules and allow Cornyn’s amendment to go forward was rejected.  Though more voted yes than no, these types of motions require a 60-vote majority before it is considered passed.  Every Republican present voted to retain Cornyn’s amendment.  Of Democrats present, all but 10 voted against allowing the amendment to go forward.  The end result is that the amendment was ruled not germane to the underlying bill and was defeated by the procedural motion.

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