Selective Service likely to be spared from cutting in FY 2011 bill

One example of how difficult it is to cut further from H.R. 1, the FY 2011 spending bill, came at about 12:45 a.m. Wednesday. (The House adjourned shortly after 1:10 a.m., and will reconvene at 10 a.m. Wednesday morning.)

At that time, Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) offered an amendment to end the U.S. Selective Service System, which maintains the system for drafting citizens into the military. DeFazio said about $25 million a year is spent on this program, even though there is no threat of a draft.

He noted that the Selective Service spends the money on meetings and uniforms, but said, "I really don't know who they're purchasing uniforms for." If the U.S. is really in a crisis, he said, Congress should defund this program.

"Here's one where you're not going to get a single call, except maybe a thank you," he said.

But others disagreed. Reps. Jo Ann Emerson (R-Mo.) and Norm Dicks (D-Wash.) argued that ending the program would mean the U.S. would need one or two years to re-organize a draft, if needed. "This could be disastrous," Emerson said.

The House postponed a roll call vote on this amendment early Wednesday morning, but on a voice vote on the amendment, the acting Speaker said the "noes" appear to have it.