House Votes to Fund Government; Virginia Delegation Splits

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    A few minutes ago, the US House of Representatives voted to approve the budget compromise hammered out by President Obama, John Boehner, Harry Reid, et al. late last week. The vote tally was 260-167, with Republicans breaking out 179-59, and Democrats voting 81-108. As for the Virginia delegation, it split like this:

    Yea (4 Republicans, 2 Democrats)

    Eric Cantor, Bob Goodlatte, Rob Wittman, Frank Wolf, Gerry Connolly, Jim Moran

    Nay (4 Republicans, 1 Democrat)

    Randy Forbes, Morgan Griffith, Robert Hurt, Scott Rigell, Bobby Scott

    Note that the three freshman Teapublicans – Griffith, Hurt and Rigell – voted “nay,” along with Lionel Spruill’s BFF Randy Forbes. Also note that Frank Wolf voted his district, not his (far-right) ideology, on this one. No, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that voting for a government shutdown, in a district that has tens of thousands of federal employees and their families, would not have been good politics for good ol’ Frank Wolf. He may be a right wingnut, but he’s not an idiot.

    • pontoon

      week outlining why Mr. Hurt voted against the compromise, not that I liked it a lot myself.  But I’m sure he will say because the compromise didn’t go far enough.  Seems they just voted in the House  to defund the Affordable Health Care Act in the House, as well.  

    • Politics is the art of compromise, and this Continuing Resolution is the epitome of compromise. Passing a budget for the rest of Fiscal Year 2011 is the responsible thing to do when the alternative is a government shutdown.

      While I am pleased none of the ideologically-driven environmental policy riders were included in the legislation and funding for Head Start and Pell Grants was saved, the Continuing Resolution passed today heaps the majority of spending cuts onto the backs of states and localities. These cuts come in the form of reductions to programs that ensure our drinking water is clean; maintain our roadways and bridges; and carves into funding for Community Health Centers, Americorps, and education programs serving at risk and disadvantaged children. Under-served families across the nation will feel the pain of these cuts firsthand.

      The deal reached is a vast improvement over H.R. 1, passed in the House just a few weeks ago. It demonstrates the only kind of compromise possible in the current environment of heightened partisanship and fundamental differences in political philosophy.  

    • CONNOLLY VOTES YES ON SHORT-TERM GOVERNMENT FUNDING BILL

      House Legislation Includes $150 Million for Metro Safety & Infrastructure

      Congressman Gerry Connolly (D-VA) today voted in the House for the compromise continuing resolution to fund the federal government through September 30, citing the inclusion of $150 million in funding for Metro infrastructure and safety improvements and funds to help relieve transportation problems related to BRAC at Fort Belvoir, and the need to keep the federal government open for business.

      Connolly expressed concern about some of the cuts to important programs contained in the bill. “However, the need to provide desperately-needed funding for Metro capital improvements and transportation projects to deal with 22,000 new workers coming to Fort Belvoir due to BRAC overrode those concerns,” he said.  “This is a victory for Northern Virginia.”

      Since February, when the Republicans unveiled their initial short-term budget bill which eliminated the annual $150 million payment for Metro that is matched by $50 million each from Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia, Connolly has fought relentlessly to reinstate federal funding.

      In an effort to save the funding, Connolly offered an amendment on the House floor, wrote to Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell urging him to weigh in with the entire Virginia congressional delegation, communicated the urgency of the matter with his Senate colleagues, and lobbied the White House and the House leadership to ensure the funding was included in the final compromise spending bill that came to the House floor today.

      When the Republican budget plan came to the floor in mid-February, Connolly offered the amendment, supported by most of the Washington-area congressional delegation, to restore the annual $150 million payment to Metro.  During debate on his amendment, Connolly argued that, “The effort by Republicans to eliminate the fiscal year 2011 federal payment to Metro is an egregious abrogation of the contract Congress made with Virginia, Maryland, and DC.  It jeopardizes everything we’ve tried to do, in a bipartisan manner, to improve Metro safety.”

      But Connolly’s amendment was killed by the House Republican majority.

      At the same time, Connolly wrote to Governor McDonnell, urging him “to join me in opposing legislation that would eliminate the federal government’s $150 million commitment for Metro.”  Connolly asked McDonnell to reach out to House leadership and the entire Virginia delegation, noting that the legislation “would threaten the economic prosperity of the Commonwealth and undermine critical transportation investments on which we have partnered.”

      The Virginia governor subsequently wrote a letter to the Republican Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission, and the Virginia delegation in support of the funding.  McDonnell also raised Connolly’s concerns at a March meeting he held on Capitol Hill with the entire Virginia delegation.

      When the House-passed short-term spending bill reached the Senate, it was defeated in that body, forcing House Republicans to prepare a new bill, which involved input from the White House and Senate leadership.

      The new bill to fund the government through September 30 passed the afternoon of April 14 by a vote of 260-167.  Fifty-nine Republicans voted no for the House GOP bill, while 81 Democrats, including Connolly, supported the measure.  The legislation is the largest cut in federal spending in history,

      The legislation now moves to the Senate for consideration.  It must be passed by Friday night to prevent a government shutdown.

      The annual $150 million federal payment, matched by $150 million in funds from the three jurisdictions, will provide Metro with $3 billion over 10 years.  The National Transportation Safety Board estimates that Metro need $1 billion for safety improvements.

    • Jeff Barnett

      Don’t be so quick to give Frank Wolf any credit for voting for the budget cuts. The greatest problem Wolf has with this bill is that it doesn’t cut enough.

      Wolf and the Radical Republicans are hurting our district and our country every time they walk into the Capital.

      When Frank Wolf voted for John Boehner as Speaker of the House of Representatives, he voted against the interests of our district. When Frank Wolf endorsed the Radical Republicans’ Contract with America, he undercut our district.

      Amidst constant change, Virginia’s 10th District has a back-bench follower as our representative. The only reason any member of Congress would follow Wolf is out of curiosity.

    • DCCyclone

      Last week it became well-reported that Boehner told Obama et al. he needed a deal that could get 218 Republican votes, not just 218 total.

      Late Friday night when the deal was cut, some in the political media lauded Boehner’s ability to hold his caucus together.  I was stunned, as he had proven no such thing.

      Later that night, sure enough, Boehner failed miserably at keeping his caucus together, garnering only 208 Republican votes and needing Democrats to make up the difference.

      I actually thought he was likely to do better today, based on last Friday night’s vote not being whipped, and I figured today’s would be whipped.

      But instead, Republican support drops to a pitiful 179!  Democrats gave 81 votes, and Boehner needed almost half of them to pass the bill!  Boehner is lucky this was really a bipartisan deal whereby Obama himself had skin in the game; that ensured enough Dems would cross over to vote for it and ensure passage.

      Keeping in mind that the previous 3-week C.R. also needed Democrats to get to 218, that makes 3 straight spending bill votes where Boehner hasn’t been able to keep 218 Republicans on board.

      This is a real problem for him, whether the media reports it or not.  He does not have control of his caucus, the inmates are running the asylum.  While this makes governing hard for these 2 years, it’s politically helpful to Obama and to our chances of taking back the House next year.