From NBC's Shawna Thomas
The House finished voting on another "suspension" bill, which means it needs a two-thirds majority of voting members to pass, and it failed. Only two Republicans voted against it, and 26 Dems voted for it, so while this isn't an example of Republican infighting, it is an example of the majority party not quite counting their votes correctly. It's, well, embarrassing.
Final Vote Tally YEA-259 NAY-169 PRESENT-0 NOT VOTING-6
(This bill needed 284 votes to pass.)
This bill, while not as sexy as last night's vote, was part of the GOP's much touted YouCut program, where they ask the public, what you would like to see cut from federal spending. HR 519 would basically instruct the United Nations to give the excess money the U.S. contributed to a specific fund back and ask the Secretary of State to withhold funds from this program until the U.S. had gotten its money back.
It was described on the YouCut Web site like so:
Obtain Refund of Funds Owed to the U.S. by the U.N. Tax Equalization Fund
Approximate $180 million in one time savings
As of December 31, 2009, the United Nations reported that it was holding almost $180 million that the U.S. had overpaid into the U.N.'s Tax Equalization Fund (TEF). 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. we can generate savings for American taxpayers. In addition, the Administration should also demand that the process for Tax Equalization Fund withholdings be revised to prevent (or at least reduce) future discrepancies leading to such large surpluses.
However, the Congressional Budget Office scored this bill and wrote, "CBO estimates that implementing H.R. 519 would have no effect on the federal budget. Enacting H.R. 519 would not affect direct spending or revenues; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply. The bill would establish a new policy to direct the United Nations (U.N.) to return $179 million that the United States overpaid to the U.N. as well as any similar over-payments in future years."
And one Democratic member, according to The Hill newspaper said: "It's stupid," he said. "Vote 'no' on stupid."