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.