House Passes Continuing Resolution to Cut Spending in Early Morning Vote

By John R Parkinson

Feb 19, 2011 5:04am

ABC News’ John R. Parkinson reports: 

So what goes on after 3:00 A.M. in the U.S. Capitol on a Saturday morning? 

Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., sits at a table in the Speaker’s Lobby intensely studying yesterday's news in the Wall Street Journal and New York Times. 

Just a few feet away, four Members curl up in oversized chairs huddled around a fire place burning red-hot embers. 

Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.J., grabs a late night snack from a basement vending machine. 

Anticipating the first flight back to Missouri Saturday morning, Congressional Black Caucus Chairman Emanuel Cleaver, D-Missouri, pulls his roller bag through the Cannon Tunnel under Independence Avenue, through the basement of the Capitol and parks his luggage in the Speaker’s Lobby just outside the doors leading onto the House floor. 

Earlier in the evening, Speaker of the House John Boehner surprised reporters when he entertained an impromptu press conference in the Speaker’s Lobby

Finally, at 3:00 A.M., the bells ring announcing the final series of votes on amendments. 

The four sleeping members have since been reduced to a duo, and the groggy lawmakers are awakened, sit up to straighten their neckties before shuffling back to the House floor blurry-eyed and bushy-tailed. 

Moments before final passage, House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers, R-Kentucky, and Ranking Member Norman Dicks, D-Washington, thanked the appropriations committee staffs for orchestrating the complicated score over the past week. 

Then, at 4:40 A.M., the House of Representatives voted to pass the CR 235-189. All Democrats and three Republicans — Reps. Jeff Flake, Ariz., John Campbell, Calif., and Walter Jones, N.C., — voted against the bill.

Afterwards, Boehner, R-Ohio, commended lawmakers on both sides of the aisle for their efforts and said “the House works best when it is allowed to work its will.” 

“This week, for the first time in many years, the People’s House was allowed to work its will – and the result was one of the largest spending cuts in American history,” Boehner  said in a statement. “For the good of our economy and our democracy, I call on Senate Majority Leader Reid to allow it to come to an immediate vote.  Cutting federal spending is critical to reducing economic uncertainty, encouraging private-sector investment, and creating a better environment for job creation in our country. We will not stop here in our efforts to cut spending, not when we’re broke and Washington’s spending binge is making it harder to create jobs. 

After introducing an alternative short-term extension at current spending levels late Friday evening, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi declared that the vote to pass the spending bill would “destroys jobs.” 

“Congressional Republicans have spent the last six weeks ignoring jobs and refusing to offer a plan to grow our economy.  Today, they have made matters worse – passing a spending bill that destroys jobs, weakens the middle class, hurts schools and young adults, eliminates assistance to homeless veterans, and diminishes critical investments in our future,” Pelosi, D-Calif., said in a statement. “The American people deserve better.” 

The bill now heads to the Senate, where it has no support from the Democratic majority. President Obama has also threatened to veto the bill. 

The current CR runs out of funding on March 4. If Congress and the White House are not able to come to an agreement on the spending bill, the government faces the possibility of being shut down.

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