ABC News’ John R. Parkinson reports:
For the second time in as many days, House leaders failed to pass a suspension bill. "Suspension of the rules" is a procedure generally used to quickly pass non-controversial bills.
But today, lawmakers brought up a bill that would have secured the return to the U.S. $179 million overpaid into the United Nations Tax Equalization Fund, failed by a vote of 259-169.
But Republicans who supported the measure fell short. The vote was 27 votes short of passage – requiring a two-thirds majority to pass the suspension of the rules. Two Republicans voted against the bill, while 167 Democrats fought to successfully defeat it.
Votes in the House are scheduled by the House Majority Leader, Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Virginia, who supported the bill.
Opponents of the bill argued that the measure would not create jobs, had no cost savings for the federal government, and would make Americans less safe.
Rep. Pete King, the chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, fought hard to defeat the measure, warning that the bill was a “matter of life and death.”
"This would undermine security in New York City, it's wrong and it's indefensible,” King, R-NY, said. “We're talking about human life here. If someone is killed in an attack on the U.N., I don't think we will be able to go back and say, well, the money was in the wrong account.”
This bill was brought to the floor as part of the House GOP’s You Cut initiative, which enables the American public to vote on a weekly basis to determine which spending cuts will be brought to the floor next.
As of December 31, 2009, the U.N. reported that it was holding almost $180 million that the U.S. had overpaid into the U.N.’s Tax Equalization Fund (TEF). According to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor it appears that the U.N. is still holding the U.S. funds because the Administration has not instructed the U.N. on how it wishes to dispose of them. By instructing the U.N. to return those funds to the U.S. in order to generate savings for American taxpayers.
Yesterday, the House voted on and narrowly defeated an extension of some provisions in the Patriot Act set to expire at the end of the month.