The Rules Committee on Tuesday replaced the original bill with a manager's amendment that moves more than $700 million in funds from a mandatory spending account to a discretionary account in the patent bill, H.R. 1249. This was done because the bill as reported by the Judiciary Committee moved the money to the mandatory account, which is a violation of another House rule saying that appropriations cannot be made by authorizing committees.
Moving the money back at the Rules Committee is technically simple, but it is treated as an increase in spending by the Congressional Budget Office, which required Republicans to waive the cut-go rule. Democrats implied that the maneuver increases the deficit, but Republicans argue that there is no change in spending, and that that the move was done simply to correct Judiciary's drafting error.
Aside from Democratic opposition to the cut-go waiver, Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), a senior member of the Judiciary Committee, also said he would support the Democratic point of order.
"I believe in the cut-go rules, and I'm told by the supporters of this bill that this waiver is just technical because the committee violated the rules of turning discretionary spending into mandatory spending," he said. "As we have just heard, this technical waiver involves $717 million. It is hardly technical."
Sensenbrenner also happens to oppose the bill, which could have factored into his arguments. Sensenbrenner was one of only three members of the Judiciary Committee who voted against the bill.
After the vote, members proceeded to debate the rule, and a vote was expected later Wednesday.