Monday, July 5, 2010

A Rose by any other name?

You can tell a lot by the names the Congress puts on bills.  Oh, nothing substantial about the bill.  But you can tell which way they want to spin the bill.  Usually the stuff they want to trumpet is in a bill named something like "The Prosperity For All By Inventing the Greatest Thing Since Sliced Bread Act".

Late Thursday night, the House of Representatives passed the bill that sends another $30 billion off to kill people by fighting a useless war on the other side of the world.  Lets see what they called this bill......

(the text is copied from the Clerk of the House website listing the proceedings of July 1st. ... its their 'fine print'.)

H.R. 4899:
making emergency supplemental appropriations for disaster relief and summer jobs for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2010, and for other purposes
.... its the "and for other purposes" that a) got almost all the money.  and b) which is going to cause people to die and be maimed from now until Oct when the war funding for next year kicks in.

And oh, by the way, just in case you want to participate in a democracy, the first step of which is knowing how your Representative voted, the Democratic leadership made this a confusing tangle of five different votes that tries to let a lot of Democrats lie and say they opposed this war when it was the Democrat in the White House who was asking for the funding and the Democrats in the Congress making sure he got it.

What's interesting is how ashamed all the Democrats are as to what they've just done.  They try to hide it wherever possible.  Which tells us all that they know what we know ... that we the citizens of this country want these wars to end!

If you want to try to untangle just how your Democrat helped let this pass, here's a list of the votes.

First was a very important vote on a new 'rule' that let them do the very strange procedure of splitting the approval of this bill into separate votes. 38 Democrats voted against this rule, notably Mr. Kucinich. It only passed by 5 votes. If it had failed, the whole war funding effort would have fallen apart. It passed entirely on Democratic votes.

The links should work to take you to the records of who voted which way on each vote. That's the main reason I copied the text straight from the House Clerk's website. So, sorry for Congress' fine print, but the links work to show you who did what.

On agreeing to the resolution Agreed to by the Yeas and Nays: 215 - 210 (Roll no. 428)

If that vote had failed, the remainder could not have occurred.  A very important vote where almost every Democrat lined up with Pelosi and Obey and made sure the war funding would pass.

Then ...
ORDER OF PROCEDURE - Mr. Obey moved to concur in the Senate amendment to the text to H.R. 4899 with amendments. Pursuant to the provisions of H.Res. 1500, the motion to concur in the Senate amendment with amendments shall be divided into each of its 5 portions. The first portion is considered as adopted pursuant to H.Res. 1500. The Chair shall put the question on adoption of each of portions 2 through 5 separately in their turn.

Then, the four votes in succession. First, although the house record works hard to hide which vote was which, this first was on the teacher funding and disaster relief.

10:33 P.M. -
On motion that the House concur in the Senate amendment to the text with the second portion of the divided question [amendment 2]. Agreed to by the Yeas and Nays: 239 - 182, 1 Present (Roll no. 430)

Next came a vote to defund the war, which lost miserably with only 22 Democrats supporting.

10:41 P.M. -
On motion that the House concur in the Senate amendment to the text with the third portion of divided question [amendment 3] Failed by recorded vote: 25 - 376, 22 Present (Roll no. 431)

Next was a vote on limiting war funding based on a promise to withdraw. Again, it lost miserably, with only 93 Democrats voting no. This is likely the fake vote that the faux-progressive Democrats representing anti-war districts will use to try to say that they didn't approve of sending these billions off for more war, death and destruction.
10:47 P.M. -
On motion that the House concur in the Senate amendment to the text with the fourth portion of the divided question (amendment 4) Failed by recorded vote: 100 - 321 (Roll no. 432).

The last was a vote on an amendment to require the President to present to Congress both a National Intelligence Estimate and a withdrawal plan to get more money. 153 Democrats voted in favor of this.
10:54 P.M. -
Motion to reconsider laid on the table Agreed to without objection. On motion that the House concur in the Senate amendment to the text with the fifth portion of the divided question (amendment 5) Failed by recorded vote: 162 - 260 (Roll no. 433).

For most votes, the process is to vote on amendments to the bill as the body works out the exact text of the bill. Then to have a final vote on passage. Notice how they flipped it over this time. To call this 'weird' is to insult the weird.

One thing to remember is that everyone knows the count on these votes before they are ever held. Thus, you can't always read a lot into a particular vote. The key vote was on the rule, which was very close. Notice how the Democrats lined up with their leadership to let all that followed occur.

Then, on the two votes the faux-progressive Democrats will use to try to claim that they oppose this war, everyone knew that there were plenty of votes to pass the money without any inconvenient things like intelligence or plans attached. So, for many, those were 'safe' votes where they could pretend to be against the war.

But, never forget that these same Democrats have their fingerprints all over the original 'rule' vote that allowed all of this to happen. That passed by 5 votes, so only a very small handful of Democrats could have blocked war funding right then and there. All who voted Yes on that resolution supported the war.

1 comment:

Sandra said...

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