Politics

What 10 Hours of House Amendment Votes Look Like

How the ‘minibus’ process unfolded on the floor Wednesday and Thursday

California Rep. Ken Calvert on the House floor during debate Thursday on the minibus appropriations package. (C-SPAN screenshot)

The House on Thursday passed a nearly $790 billion security-themed, four-title spending package, marking the first set of must-pass appropriations measures to be cleared on either chamber floor this year.

But before they could take the final vote on the so-called minibus, House rules — which are agreed to in committee — set debate parameters that allowed for votes on amendments to the bill. Lots of amendments.

Over two days, members voted on 104 amendments to the spending package — not counting another nine that were withdrawn on the floor. It took the chamber nine hours and 42 minutes, broken up over Wednesday and Thursday, to consider all the amendments.

In such cases, a few amendments usually end up grabbing headlines. Under one amendment that was adopted, for example, members would be able to spend taxpayer money on home security systems. In another, the House agreed to bar funds from going toward purchasing heavy water from Iran.

But there’s plenty more that the House considered during the hours lawmakers spent inside the chamber. In addition to the heavy water amendment, for instance, 45 others dealt with energy.

 

And in a relatively short time on Thursday, the House voted on several defense-related amendments: 37 just between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m.

 

The vast majority of those amendments were adopted without a recorded vote, showing some bipartisanship within the chamber (even though the final vote on the bill was largely a party-line affair).

Despite the chamber being controlled by Republicans, Democrats had slightly more amendments adopted. This mostly came from the large number offered by Democratic lawmakers — a smaller percentage of theirs were adopted, compared to those offered by GOP colleagues.

 

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