What: All Issues : Corporate Subsidies : Forest and Paper Industry : H.R. 2691. Fiscal 2004 Interior Appropriations/Vote to Recommit to Committee a Conference Report to Fund the Interior Department and Related Agencies.
 Who: All Members

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H.R. 2691. Fiscal 2004 Interior Appropriations/Vote to Recommit to Committee a Conference Report to Fund the Interior Department and Related Agencies.
house Roll Call 594     Oct 30, 2003
Y = Conservative
N = Progressive
Winning Side:

One of the few procedural prerogatives available to minority party members in the House is the motion to recommit. If successful, the motion recommits the legislation to committee and is usually accompanied by instructions to amend the bill in a particular fashion (in this case, no instructions were included). The subject of this vote was a motion to recommit to committee the conference report on the Interior Department spending bill (a conference report is the final version of a bill). Progressives voted in favor of the motion to recommit based on their several objections to the conference report. The first objection involved the inclusion of an administration-favored rule which would expand road building, logging, and mining operations in federal forestland, specifically (but not limited to) Alaska's Chugach and Tongass national forests. In the view of Progressives, expanding commercial operations in federal forestland would jeopardize the natural beauty of pristine wilderness areas. The second objection involved funding cuts for the National Endowments of the Arts (NEA) and Humanities (NEH). In the view of Progressives, federal funding for the arts and humanities is socially and economically beneficial. According to Representative Slaughter (D-NY), the $232 million invested by the federal government in the NEA and NEH in 2003 had an economic impact of $132 billion and produced billions of tax revenues on the federal, state, and local levels of government. Additionally, continued Slaughter, every dollar the NEA invests in local theater groups, orchestras, or exhibitions generates seven dollars for NEA by attracting other grants, private donations, and ticket sales. The third objection involved provisions in the conference report which failed to resolve a dispute between Native Americans and the Interior Department. Since 1885, the Interior Department has managed an account owned by Native Americans which contained money paid to tribes by the federal government for the commercial use of Native American land. According to Progressives, this account had been terribly mismanaged by Interior and legislative action was needed to compensate Native Americans for the federal government's mishandling of the account. Conservatives opposed the motion to recommit based on what they characterized as the virtues of the legislation such as funding increases for the National Park Service, the National Wildlife Refuges, the Indian Health Service, the Forest Service, and the Bureau of Land Management. On a vote of 190-229, the motion to recommit was defeated and the Interior Department conference report-which would expand logging and mining operations in federal forestland-was allowed to proceed to a final vote.

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