Financial Services And General Government Appropriations Act, 2010


Date: July 16, 2009
Location: Washington, DC
Issues: Abortion


Mrs. EMERSON. Mr. Chairman, while I don't oppose the content of this amendment, I do oppose the process in which it was offered.

Mr. Chairman, this is a controversial bill to many Americans. Increasing spending by $1.6 billion, or 7 percent, should be allowed to be debated under this bill. In addition, the changes in long-standing policy on abortion and on medical marijuana should also have an opportunity to be debated. I think that the responsible regular functioning of this institution is so important, especially on spending measures that demand the full attention of Congress, because they've got the full attention of the American people.

As my colleagues know, a manager's amendment traditionally is meant not to be controversial. It's meant to be offered and supported by both sides of the aisle to improve the bill in ways on which we can all agree. The manager's amendment is meant to have a quick debate, typically followed by debate on more difficult issues. Taking three proposed amendments by our Democratic colleagues and rolling them into a manager's amendment while prohibiting debate on the majority of amendments submitted by the Republicans is not in the tradition of this House or the tradition of what a manager's amendment should be.

I urge a ``no'' vote.

I yield back the balance of my time.


Mrs. EMERSON. Mr. Chairman, my amendment would strike $50 million from the $100 million under the Election Assistance Commission for Help America Vote grants for States.

The President's budget requested a total of $52 million for election reform programs, $50 million for grants to States, and $2 million for research and other initiatives. My amendment would simply return the State grant funding level in this account to the same amount that the President's budget requested.

Sixty-two percent of the States have not even applied for their fiscal year 2008--2008--Help America Vote funds. Of the $115 million provided for State grants in fiscal year 2008, only about 20 percent of the funds have been obligated to the States; $25 million has been given to 18 States. Of the $100 million provided for State grants in fiscal year 2009, not even 4 percent has left the Treasury. Only two States have received fiscal year 2009 funds. So we have almost $186 million still sitting in the Treasury for these grants.

Now, I think you all know me and you know me well enough to know that if there is a need, I'm fully supportive of matching the funding level to that need. However, I see little need to provide another $100 million in unused funds to then get to a total of $286 million in untapped funds.

I respect my chairman, and I respect the need for election reform and certainty in the election process. There is no question that we are obligated to provide for free and fair elections. It is a hallmark of our democracy, and we must always work to safeguard our elections. However, this is one account that has a demonstrated lack of funding needs for the coming fiscal year. Even the President recognized the opportunity to save the taxpayer $50 million.

I urge all to do the same and vote ``yes'' on my amendment.