What: All Issues : Making Government Work for Everyone, Not Just the Rich or Powerful : Curbing Presidential Power : H.R. 366. Education/Procedural Vote on Motion to Recommit (Amend or Kill) Vocational and Technical Educational Bill in order to Draw Clear Boundaries Regarding Relationships between Federal Agencies and Journalists.
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H.R. 366. Education/Procedural Vote on Motion to Recommit (Amend or Kill) Vocational and Technical Educational Bill in order to Draw Clear Boundaries Regarding Relationships between Federal Agencies and Journalists.
house Roll Call 153     May 04, 2005
Y = Conservative
N = Progressive
Winning Side:
Conservative

In this vote, the House defeated a procedural motion offered by George Miller (D-CA) to recommit to committee with instructions H.R. 366, a bill addressing vocational and technical education. (A motion to recommit with instructions is a motion send a bill back to committee for the purpose of changing it significantly. This motion is often a minority party's last effort to try to amend or kill the legislation in question.) Miller's motion was made in direct Democratic reaction to the public revelation that a radio commentator had been paid by the U.S. Department of Education to make public statements supporting the Bush Administration's No Child Left Behind initiative. These statements were made in the guise of independent statements by Armstrong Williams, a radio commentator. No financial or other formal link between Williams and the agency or Administration was disclosed at the time of the statements. Democrats, including Progressives, were outraged, and Miller, the Ranking Democrat on the House Education and the Workforce Committee, introduced this motion to require that "prepackaged news stories put together with Federal funds must be disclosed to viewers" and to prohibit "using public funds to pay journalists or media commentators to promote the views of the agency." Democrats criticized the Williams case as one of "covert [government] propaganda," (Rosa DeLauro (D-CT)), and deplored what they termed the misuse of much-needed taxpayer education dollars. Republicans countered that Miller's motion was a "cheap shot aimed at the administration" that "would not do a single thing to improve educational opportunities for American students." (John Boehner (R-OH).) They added that what had occurred in the Williams case was "stupid," but not "illegal or unethical." (Boehner.) The House voted 197 to 224, virtually along straight party lines, to defeat Miller's motion and the Progressive position. Thus, language aimed at delineating clearer lines between journalists and commentators and federal agencies was not adopted, and practices such as those in the Williams case were permitted to continue.

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