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House Roll Call: 644     Vote Date: Dec 20th, 2012

Roll Call 644 (12-20-12) H.R. 6684 Spending Reduction Act of 2012. Passed in House 215 to 209, without any Democratic support. Dead in Senate.

Bill Summary:  A complex measure that institutes a number of structural spending reforms, including tightening Food Stamp eligibility, providing some improvements in medical malpractice awards, ending the “too big to fail” provisions of Dodd-Frank, and halting abuse of the Child Tax Credit by illegal immigrants.

Projects a net ten-year reduction in spending, while allowing for an increase in 2013 and 2014 spending relative to the sequester.

Analysis:  This bill was part of the partisan wrestling match at the end of 2012 to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff.   One of the most prominent issues driving the “fiscal cliff” was the “Bush era tax cuts” due to expire at the end of 2012.

Prior to this roll call, GOP House Speaker John Boehner had been planning to advance legislation to continue the cuts on all incomes below $1 million. President Obama and the Democrats were arguing for a lower threshold — $250,000.   (Either plan accepted the socialist premise of the progressive tax on incomes advocated in Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto.)

However, many House Republicans objected that the Boehner plan did nothing to cut federal spending.   And so, at the last minute, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor introduced H.R. 6684, The Spending Reduction Act of 2012.

H.R. 6684 was an updated version of legislation passed by the House on May 10, 2012, as H.R. 5652, the Sequester Replacement Reconciliation Act of 2012. The sponsor of that earlier measure was Paul Ryan, GOP chairman of the House Budget Committee, so both measures were essentially products of the GOP House leadership.

The GOP House leadership repeatedly postures as fiscally conservative by advocating plans to reduce the federal deficit by mandating future restraint in federal spending. That leadership in no way intends to use the House’s power of the purse effectively to challenge the Big Brother agenda of the Insider Establishment.

Rather than confronting the massive unconstitutional programs that are driving the nation into bankruptcy and seriously eroding America’s middle class, the GOP leadership distracts Americans by dramatizing arguments over the level of unconstitutional spending America can tolerate.

One of those who saw through the ruse in H.R. 6684 and voted “no” was Representative Justin Amash (R-Michigan). Amash wrote: “Contrary to its title, the bill
increases spending and debt by tens of billions of dollars.”

A number of structural spending reforms in the bill induced several normally tough conservatives, such as Tom McClintock of California, to support the measure “reluctantly.” In doing so, Mclintock admitted:

“Although the ten year budget savings are far greater than those anticipated under the sequester – and the reason for my aye vote — I am skeptical of provisions that reduce the first year savings mandated by the sequester. It is a short-term increase in spending (relative to the sequester) in exchange for much greater long-term savings.”

Note: The Bush-era tax cut issue was eventually resolved with H.R. 8, the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 passed by Congress on January 1, 2013 (see Roll Call 659.)

We have assigned (good vote) to the Nays and (bad vote) to the Yeas. (P = voted present; ? = not voting; blank = not listed on roll call.)