One of the subplots of last night’s Republican House vote on Speaker Boehner’s Budget Control Act of 2011, was the moment new Democratic Representative Kathy Hochul (D-NY) stepped forward to interrupt the Speaker’s final vote by introducing a motion to recommit the bill.
Recommit motions are a procedural means often used by a minority party to force the majority, just before a final vote on a bill, to have to add amendments previously prohibited, and also to reveal via a recorded vote what members stand for, and against.
Hochul’s recommit motion was asking the House to send Boehner’s bill back to the deficit reduction committee, and to add an amendment requiring the committee to prioritize eliminating subsidies for oil and gas companies and corporate jet owners prior to any cutting of “essential education programs, that are necessary for the creation of jobs, energy recovery, and investment in America’s future.”
Hochul began her comments in defense of her motion, after saying she was sure everyone in the room loved “this great country”, with a charge against Republicans that went straight to the heart of the Democratic view of the current crisis:
“Mr. Speaker, never, never in our history has there been an intentional disaster perpetrated by the very people who are sent here to be the caretakers of this country.”
In addition, Hochul said Republicans were asking members to vote for placing the interests of the rich ahead of America’s children:
“My amendment is a simple statement of America’s priorities. It says, before we cut our education for our children, we first must cut subsidies to Big Oil and corporate jets…Speaker BOEHNER’s plan results in consequences I can’t imagine anyone in
this room really wants…we’re putting at risk the investments in education that are so critical for our young people to compete with China, India, and Europe on the global stage.”
When Representative David Dreier (R-CA), rose to briefly speak against Hochul’s motion, ironically he criticized her for not asking the House to add a prioritizing focus to Social Security, Medicare, and veterans, in other words, other groups negatively affected by big budget cuts, while the rich retain tax breaks and subsidies.
Dreier then attacked Hochul’s motives with a simple, and traditional Republican charge:
“All [Hochu’s amendment] does is engage in class warfare and increase taxes. Vote against the motion to recommit.”
The final vote on Hochul’s motion was 244 noes to 183 ayes. One Republican, Walter Jones (R-SC) voted aye. Six Democrats, all conservatives from southern and western states, voted no.