What: All Issues : Fair Taxation : Corporate Tax Breaks, Oil & Gas Industry : Outlining the rules of debate for a bill to formulate energy policy (H. Res. 66)/Motion to order the previous question (end debate and prevent amendment)
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Outlining the rules of debate for a bill to formulate energy policy (H. Res. 66)/Motion to order the previous question (end debate and prevent amendment)
house Roll Call 35     Jan 18, 2007
Y = Conservative
N = Progressive
Winning Side:
Progressive

This was a procedural vote on a resolution outlining the rules for consideration of a bill to limit tax benefits and require royalty payments from the oil and gas industry and use those funds to promote alternative and renewable energies. The effect of this motion was to force a vote on the rules for debate.

The resolution outlined the rules for debate for the legislation, including how much floor time would be granted to each side and which amendments would be considered in order. The resolution is commonly known as the rules package.

Republicans opposed the rules package because the Democratic-controlled Rules Committee proposed what's known as a "closed rule," meaning that only the amendments pre-approved by the panel would get an up-or-down vote on the floor. No amendments were approved when the Rules Committee met on January 16.

The Democratic majority was pushing through more than a half dozen pieces of legislation as part of its "100 hours" agenda, aiming to fulfill campaign promises to enact bills on subjects ranging from a minimum wage hike to student loan interest rate reductions to changes in the way the House handles intelligence oversight. The energy bill was the last measure included in that agenda, and Democrats said that accomplishing all of the bills in the abbreviated time frame required streamlining the legislative process.

Democrats pointed out that Republicans often prohibited them from having any say over legislation that was brought to the House floor when Republicans were in the majority. Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) responded: "It's not about what we did - it's about what the new majority promised that they were going to do. We are short-circuiting democracy here."

This vote was on a motion ordering the previous question, which is a parliamentary maneuver that effectively ends debate, prohibits amendment and moves the House to a vote for an up-or-down of the resolution under consideration. If the motion for the previous question is defeated, the House in effect turns control of the floor over to the lawmaker who led the opposition to the question at hand, usually a member of the minority party. As such, motions to order the previous question are usually party-line votes, and the majority party almost always prevails.

Such was the case with this vote, as the parties split unanimously with all of the Republicans present voting against the motion and all of the Democrats present voting for it. Thus, by a vote of 231-194, the House moved to end debate and prohibit amendment on a resolution providing consideration for a bill to limit the federal subsidies for oil and gas companies and instead fund alternative and renewable resources.

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