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Disclaimer: The author of this site maintained the campaign weblog of John Kline's opponent in the 2006 election, which made Congressman Kline a bit testy.

As with all blogs, review the facts carefully and draw your own conclusions.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Motion to Recommit

After writing the previous post, I got to thinking about John Kline's supposed dismissal of certain anti-veteran votes he's cast as "procedural votes, so that the language of the bill could be improved".

While this simply isn't true for one of the votes in question --- final passage of the FY 2006 budget --- the other two votes were motions to recommit certain legislation back to committee for amendment. I originally decided that Kline's characterization of these votes was technically true, but misleading. But then I realized that I don't know that much about how Congress operates, and I should really investigate further.

I've since decided that Kline's characterization is simply misleading.

One can read more than they would ever care to know about motions to recommit here, but the upshot is that in many instances, a motion to recommit is the only way for the minority party to introduce an amendment to legislation. From the House Rules Committee:

Even under an open rule, it is often difficult to offer an amendment to an appropriations bill. For example, an amendment cannot exceed the budget authority or outlays allocated to the committee under the Budget Act or it is subject to a point of order.

Both of the motions to reconsider which I mentioned earlier (corresponding to votes 47 and 221 of the first session of the 109th Congress) were made to appropriations bills. The motion to provide job training for veterans specified appropriation of "such sums as may be necessary", and thus would ordinarily be ruled out on a point of order.

The motion to expand TRICARE to all members of the National Guard and Reserve specified a budget shift of $182 million, and so might have been considered as an ordinary amendment. However, it was endorsed by "the Military Officers Association of America, by the National Guard Association of America, by the Enlisted Association of the National Guard, a unanimous vote last weekend by the Adjutants General of the 54 States and territories, the Reserve Officers Association, and the Fleet Reserve Association" according to Mississippi congressman Gene Taylor. I doubt these organizations would bother to endorse a procedural vote to improve the language of legislation.

Kline has refused to answer my questions about his policy positions, and now he's misleading his supporters about his anti-veteran votes. Not the actions of a man who's feeling confident about his chances for re-election.


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