What: All Issues : Making Government Work for Everyone, Not Just the Rich or Powerful : Curbing Presidential Power : (H.R. 1540) Legislation providing annual funding for Defense Department programs, continuing the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Policy that banned gays from serving openly in the military, and prohibiting the Obama administration from implementing a nuclear weapons reduction treaty with Russia – On bringing to a final vote the resolution setting a time limit for debate and determining which amendments could be offered to the bill
 Who: All Members
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(H.R. 1540) Legislation providing annual funding for Defense Department programs, continuing the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Policy that banned gays from serving openly in the military, and prohibiting the Obama administration from implementing a nuclear weapons reduction treaty with Russia – On bringing to a final vote the resolution setting a time limit for debate and determining which amendments could be offered to the bill
house Roll Call 341     May 25, 2011
Y = Conservative
N = Progressive
Winning Side:
Conservative

This was a procedural vote on a resolution setting a time limit for debate and determining which amendments could be offered to legislation providing annual funding for Defense Department programs, continuing the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT) policy that banned gays from serving openly in the military, and prohibiting the Obama administration from implementing a nuclear weapons reduction treaty with Russia. If passed, this particular procedural motion--known as the “previous question"--effectively ends debate and brings the pending legislation to an immediate vote.

Over the objections of many Republicans, President Obama had signed into law legislation repealing DADT in 2010. The Senate had ratified the nuclear arms agreement with Russia—known as the “New Start Treaty”—that same year.

The underlying defense bill also contained a highly controversial provision that granted the president the authority to "use all necessary and appropriate force during the current armed conflict with Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and associated forces." Critics of this provision argued that it amounted to an open-ended authorization for the president to pursue endless warfare in the pursuit of terrorists.


Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT) urged support for the resolution and the underlying bill: “Our nation faces some daunting challenges: to provide adequate resources for our national defense going forward, to pay personnel and to provide promised benefits for our all-volunteer force….The infrastructure needs of our military continue to slip further and further behind…and a backlog of needed improvements to fill vital military missions grows even greater. A strong national defense is directly related to a strong national economy and to a strong jobs outlook. national defense makes everything else that we enjoy in this country--our cherished way of life, our freedoms--possible. The underlying legislation, H.R. 1540, does a remarkable job, given all of the fiscal restraints that have been involved, in continuing to provide for our common defense.”

Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA) opposed the resolution and the underlying bill: “All Members of this House are strongly committed to protecting our national security regardless of party, region or political point of view. It has been the tradition of the House Armed Services Committee, at the staff and member level, to work in a bipartisan way to carefully craft the annual Defense authorization bill….Given such a tradition, it comes as a surprise to see so many provisions in H.R. 1540 that attempt to repudiate and attack several of the President's national security policies: from warehousing low-level detainees for an indeterminate amount of time, to delaying the implementation of the repeal of Don't Ask-Don't Tell, to hamstringing the implementation of the bipartisan-supported New START Treaty, to seeking a so-called ``updated'' authorization for the use of military force that…gives broad authority to the executive branch to pursue military operations anywhere and for any length of time. Such changes have all the appearance of a partisan agenda.”

The House agreed to the previous question motion by a vote of 239-181. All 236 Republicans present and 3 Democrats voted “yea.” 181 Democrats voted “nay.” As a result, the House proceeded to a final vote on a resolution setting a time limit for debate and determining which amendments could be offered to legislation providing annual funding for Defense Department Programs, continuing the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT) policy that banned gays from serving openly in the military, and prohibiting the Obama administration from implementing a nuclear weapons reduction treaty with Russia.

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