What: All Issues : Justice for All: Civil and Criminal : Punishment Fitting the Crime : H. Res. 268. Crime/Procedural Vote to Proceed to Consideration of a Bill to Punish and Deter Gang Violence.
 Who: All Members
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H. Res. 268. Crime/Procedural Vote to Proceed to Consideration of a Bill to Punish and Deter Gang Violence.
house Roll Call 164     May 11, 2005
Y = Conservative
N = Progressive
Winning Side:
Conservative

In this vote, the House agreed to proceed to consideration of H.R. 1279, a bill designed to punish and deter gang violence. The vote was to order the previous question on the rule for H.R. 1279, meaning that by approving the rule, the House agreed to end debate, prevent further amendments and proceed immediately to a vote on the governing rule for H.R. 1279. (A rule sets forth what amendments House members may offer, how much time each side will be permitted to speak, how long the debate can last, etc. A vote on the rule usually reflects existing support and opposition for the underlying legislation and/or loyalty to one's party.) Both Democrats and Republicans addressed the substance of the gang-violence bill in the course of their debate. H.R. 1279 would authorize increased funding for law enforcement and prosecutors. It would also increase penalties–i.e., prison time–for violent gang-related crimes, including authorizing the death penalty for gang-related murders. In addition, it would give the U.S. Attorney General discretion over whether to try 16 and 17-year-olds as adults. Progressives acknowledged the seriousness of the gang problem in America and agreed that measures must be taken to stop it, but disagreed with Republicans about the means to achieve that goal. James McGovern (D-MA) characterized the bill as "bad policy wrapped in a bad bill that will simply not do the job the sponsors claim it will do." He stated that the bill "unjustifiably expands death penalty provisions, removes judicial discretion over transferring juveniles to the adult court system, and imposes ineffective mandatory minimum sentencing." Republicans disagreed, arguing that the bill would "creat[e] the tools to put gang members behind bars and get them off the streets." (Phil Gingrey (R-GA).) Progressives lost this vote when the House approved the resolution with a straight party-line vote of 227 to 198. Thus, the House proceeded to substantive consideration of H.R. 1279, a bill designed to punish and deter gang violence.

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