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Congressional absentee Brian Bilbray could’ve been deciding vote to block budget

December 9, 2010 - 2:15 pm

Brian Bilbray and Brian Bilbray on election night

Congressman Brian Bilbray missed several floor votes yesterday, including the DREAM Act and a procedural vote on the $1-trillion budget, which passed by only one vote, in order to attend his son’s inauguration as a Imperial Beach city councilor.

In all, the Republican from California’s 50th District missed 15 votes on Wednesday as the Democratic majority attempted to pass legislation in the last weeks before Republicans take over.

“I’m not making excuses,” Bilbray’s district director Christy Guerin tells CityBeat..”It’s not good to miss any vote…one vote can make a difference.”

And indeed it did—Bilbray’s vote, in theory, could have blocked House Democrats from passing their budget proposal. The $1 trillion budget bill was nearly derailed by a procedural vote, House Resolution 1755, which broke along party lines 207 to 206, with 21 members not voting and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi casting the deciding vote. San Diego’s other two Republicans voted against the bill.

The budget legislation cuts $46 billion from President Barack Obama’s budget proposal, holding spending to $1 trillion. It now goes to the Senate. According to Politico:

Unprecedented in its scope, the measure barely survived a 207-206 procedural vote when senior Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee suddenly broke ranks to protest Guantanamo-related language in the package. Party leaders, caught off-guard, seemed shaken but then steadied themselves, prevailing 212-206 with no Republican help and 35 Democratic defections.

Bilbray also failed to vote on the DREAM Act, which he opposes. The measure, which passed in the House on Wednesday 216-198, would provide a pathway to citizenship for undocumented aliens who were brought to the US as children. It

The swearing-in for the younger Brian Bilbray “was a big family event, so it was a tough call,” Guerin says. “We weren’t told ahead of time it was going to come to floor … He’s still very much opposed to the DREAM Act but he before anything happens it has to go through the Senate and that is still going to be a tough battle.”

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