What: All Issues : Labor Rights : General Union Rights : H.R. 1588. Fiscal 2004 Defense Authorization/Vote to Allow Consideration of a Bill to Provide Funding for the Research and Development of "Low-Yield" Nuclear Weapons and Exempt the Defense Department from the Endangered Species Act.
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H.R. 1588. Fiscal 2004 Defense Authorization/Vote to Allow Consideration of a Bill to Provide Funding for the Research and Development of "Low-Yield" Nuclear Weapons and Exempt the Defense Department from the Endangered Species Act.
house Roll Call 201     May 21, 2003
Y = Conservative
N = Progressive
Winning Side:
Conservative

House debate on the $400.5 billion Defense Authorization centered on two main issues. First, provisions in the bill would allow Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld increased leeway in hiring, assigning, and providing pay raises to the Pentagon's nearly 700,000 civilian employees. In the view of Progressives, Rumsfeld's grant of authority could politicize the agency responsible for military operations and be used to quell dissent among civilian Pentagon employees within the Pentagon. Second, the authorization would exempt the Defense Department from compliance with the Endangered Species Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Progressives pointed out that current laws already allow case-bycase exemptions to the species protection acts; exempting the Defense Department altogether from those Acts, in their view, would further threaten those endangered species. On this vote, Republicans sought to move the previous question, thereby ending debate and the possibility of amendment, on a rule to provide for House consideration of the defense authorization bill. Before legislation can be considered in the House, a rule drafted by the House Rules Committee (which is in effect an arm of the majority party leadership) must be adopted. Progressives opposed the motion to allow adoption of the rule because that rule disallowed any Democratic amendments-including an amendment drafted by Congressman Jim Cooper (D-TN) which would have protected the rights of civilian employees in the Pentagon-from being considered during House debate. On a straight party line vote, the motion to move the previous question was adopted on a 225-203 vote.

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