What: All Issues : Making Government Work for Everyone, Not Just the Rich or Powerful : Curbing Presidential Power : H J Res 45. (Increasing the debt limit) Brownback of Kansas amendment that would create a commission to recommend to Congress cuts to inefficient programs, which Congress would have to consider as legislation/On agreeing to the amendment
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H J Res 45. (Increasing the debt limit) Brownback of Kansas amendment that would create a commission to recommend to Congress cuts to inefficient programs, which Congress would have to consider as legislation/On agreeing to the amendment
senate Roll Call 10     Jan 28, 2010
Y = Conservative
N = Progressive
Winning Side:
Progressive

This vote was on an amendment by Sam Brownback, R-Kan., that would create a congressional commission on the budget.  The commission would be tasked with assessing federal agencies and programs and recommending changes to those the commission found inefficient or outdated.  It would send those recommendations to Congress in the form of a legislative proposal, which Congress would be required to consider on the floor of the House and Senate.  The amendment was offered to a bill that would increase the statutory debt limit by $1.9 trillion to $14.29 trillion.

Brownback said his amendment would start trimming back on federal spending that was duplicative or otherwise wasteful.

“We have things we are funding that were started 50, 100 years ago, and they have actually accomplished what they were supposed to do and ought to be terminated. Yet they don’t get terminated because there is no culling process that goes on. The Federal Government hasn’t cut its own funding system for 100 years,” Brownback said.

Max Baucus, D-Mont., said Brownback’s amendment would “outsource” part of the job of Congress – deciding how federal dollars get spent and where – to a commission.

“The Senator from Kansas proposes a commission that also would create a fast track process. It would also put vital programs like Medicare, farm programs, and veterans’ programs in the crosshairs,” Baucus said.

By a vote of 51-49, the amendment was rejected.  Though more voted yes than no, this particular type of vote required 60 votes in order to be considered passed.  All but three Republicans present voted for the amendment.  Of Democrats present, 13 voted for the amendment and 45 voted against it (including the most progressive members).  The end result is that the measure went forward without language that would have created a new commission to recommend budget cuts to Congress, and turned back language that would have forced Congress to consider those recommendations on the floor of the House and Senate.

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