To Set House Rules
By a vote of 242 to 160, members adopted House operating rules (HR 5) for the 102nd Congress, a package put forth by Democrats, who hold a majority of seats and control the chamber. While most of the provisions are routine carry-overs from previous Congresses, some broke new ground and a few were denounced by Republicans as Democratic power grabs.
Most disputed was language (see issue below) to deny the White House's Office of Management and Budget power over spending it was granted by last October's deficit accord between President Bush and Democrats in Congress. Republicans also complained about a change they said could lead to House members exempting themselves from the Fair Labor Standards Act in dealing with employees. And they chided Democrats for failing to reform the Congressional Record to make it a more accurate chronicle of what is spoken on the House floor.
Supporter Martin Frost (D-Tex.) said virtually all of the proposed rules changes dealt with technicalities, clarifications or removing obsolete provisions.
Opponent Gerald B.H. Solomon (R-N.Y.) accused Democrats of seeking "authority to completely exempt the House . . . from the Fair Labor Standards Act. How is that for fairness to American workers?"
A yes vote supported the Democratic rules package. How They Voted
Rep. Anderson (D): Yea
Rep. Dornan (R): Nay
Rep. Dreier (R): Nay
Rep. Dymally (D): No Vote
Rep. Martinez (D): Yea
Rep. Roybal (D): Yea
Rep. Torres (D): Yea
Rep. Waters (D): Yea
To Reject GOP Plan
By a vote of 160 to 256, members rejected a GOP bid to retain White House control of fiscal scorekeeping power embodied in last year's $500-billion deficit-reduction plan. The motion during debate on HR 5 also sought to guarantee a House vote on a balanced budget constitutional amendment. The vote ensured approval (above) of a House rule that will shift scorekeeping on entitlement and tax measures from the Office of Management and Budget, which answers to the President, to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office and the Democratic-led Joint Economic Committee.
Because the pay-as-you-go deficit package requires new spending increases and revenue losses to be offset by savings elsewhere in the budget, the estimator of the cost of those measures will wield power over the fate of many other federal programs. Each party fears the other will manipulate estimates to further its agenda. Republicans raised the trust issue during floor debate, charging that Democrats have reneged on last year's budget pact.
Supporter Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) said, "Everyone back home ought to look at those campaign speeches from last fall and they ought to look at this vote, because this vote is real. It has real impact on the real pocketbook of every American."
Opponent Leon E. Panetta (D-Carmel Valley) said, "I think all of us admit" that the OMB under both Republican and Democratic presidents has "played games on economic projections . . . on policy issues."
A yes vote opposed shifting certain fiscal power from the White House to Capitol Hill. Source: Roll Call Report Syndicate How They Voted
Rep. Anderson (D): Nay
Rep. Dornan (R): Yea
Rep. Dreier (R): Yea
Rep. Dymally (D): No Vote
Rep. Martinez (D): Nay
Rep. Roybal (D): Nay
Rep. Torres (D): Nay
Rep. Waters (D): Nay
Source: Roll Call Syndicate