This was a vote on am amendment offered by Rep. Price (R-GA) to H.R. 3081, the bill providing fiscal year 2010 funding for the President’s Council of economic Advisors, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Small Business Administration and many other federal government operations. The amendment would have eliminated the $4.2 million in H.R. 3170 that was designated to fund the President's Council of Economic Advisers. Price acknowledged that his amendment “is more than a vote to eliminate funding. It is a vote of ‘no confidence’ on this (Obama) administration's economic policies and those of the Council of Economic Advisers.”
Price cited the fact that the unemployment rate had gone from 7.6% when Barack Obama was inaugurated to 9.5%, that the Council of Economic Advisers had promoted the large economic stimulus plan Congress recently passed as a way to control unemployment, and that Christine Romer, the chair of the Council, had predicted that “the unemployment rate would max out at 8 percent if the plan were adopted.” Price said “to put it mildly, the administration and Ms. Romer were just plain wrong.” He concluded by arguing that the economic stimulus plan promoted by the Council of Economic Advisors “just isn't working . . . This (Democratic) majority clearly doesn't have the appropriate program. This administration clearly doesn't have the appropriate program.”
Rep. Serrano (D-NY), the chair of the Appropriations Committee subcommittee that developed H.R. 3081, opposed the amendment. He argued that Republicans were trying to “make it make it sound as if the last few months have been the months that caused the economic crisis that we are in. The fact of life is that this President is trying to clean up the mess that was created during the last 8 years (of the administration of George W. Bush) . . . It fell apart during these last 8 years. And we are trying to recover.”
Serrano went on to say “(W)e need the Council of Economic Advisors to help the administration make better policy for the future. Today, the Council has been involved in developing and evaluating the Recovery Act, health care options, energy and greenhouse gas policies, tax changes, job and training programs and other major economic challenges of our time. As the administration develops policies in all these critical areas, the Council brings solid, scientific evidence on the economic effects of alternative policies into the discussion. This is probably one of those times where we really need this kind of a federal agency. And this is not the time to do away with it.”
The amendment was defeated by a vote of 146-279. One hundred and thirty-nine Republicans and seven Democrats voted “aye”. Two hundred and forty-five Democrats and thirty-four Republicans voted “nay”. As a result, funds for the Council of Economic Advisors remained in H.R.3081.