Federal spending bill voting shows unlikely allies
House Speaker John Boehner’s decision to allow a free-for-all to amend a big spending bill this month put lawmakers on the record on everything from subsidizing the Brazilian cotton industry to maintaining the U.S. troop presence in Europe.
More than 160 roll-call votes on amendments to the $1.2 trillion spending bill forced lawmakers to cast votes that in the past were hidden when party leaders, including former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, and her GOP predecessors, pushed through major legislation while allowing few if any amendments by individual lawmakers or the opposing party.
The votes on specific amendments revealed unusual alliances between Southern California Republicans and Bay Area liberals on defense and agricultural spending.
They also showed some liberal Bay Area lawmakers, including Pelosi, voting to boost corn ethanol in gasoline by 50 percent and save the controversial V-22 Osprey hybrid helicopter/airplane that critics said is plagued by cost overruns and performance problems.