Tea Party Patriots Action Weekly Report from Washington for 3/11/19
The House and Senate will both return to work Monday, and stay in session through Thursday. Then they’ll go back home for a week for the March recess, and they’ll return on Monday, March 25.
LAST WEEK ON THE HOUSE FLOOR:
The House came back to work on Tuesday, and took up and passed two bills under Suspension of the Rules.
On Wednesday, the House passed the Rule for consideration of H.R. 1, the Democrats’ ethics/lobbying/campaign finance reform bill.
On Thursday, the House passed H.Res. 183, “condemning anti-Semitism as hateful expressions of intolerance that are contradictory to the values and aspirations that define the people of the United States and condemning anti-Muslim discrimination and bigotry against minorities as hateful expressions of intolerance that are contrary to the values and aspirations of the United States.” The resolution passed by 407-23, with all 23 votes against coming from Republicans. We’ll talk more about this resolution in a moment.
On Thursday and Friday, the House considered eight amendments, and adopted three amendments to H.R. 1.
Then the GOP offered its motion to recommit. Freshman conservative Dan Crenshaw (TX-02) – who was endorsed in his primary by TPPCF – offered the motion to send the bill back to the House Judiciary Committee with instructions to add an amendment focusing on illegal aliens voting in U.S. elections. Says the amendment, “It is the sense of Congress that allowing illegal immigrants the right to vote devalues the franchise and diminishes the voting power of United States citizens.”
That motion to recommit was defeated, by a vote of 197-228. Six Democrats voted for it, and one Republican voted against it.
Then the bill was up for final passage, and it passed on a straight party-line vote, with 234 Democrats voting in favor and 193 Republicans voting against. Senate Majority Leader McConnell got what he wanted – a clean vote on a straight party line, with all GOP votes cast in opposition to the bill.
And then they were done.
THIS WEEK ON THE HOUSE FLOOR:
The House will return Monday, with the first vote set for 6:30 PM. At that time, the House is scheduled to consider four bills under Suspension of the Rules. On Tuesday, the House will consider eight bills under Suspension.
On Wednesday and Thursday, the House will consider H.Con.Res. 24, expressing the sense of Congress that the report of Special Counsel Mueller should be available to the public and to the Congress.
LAST WEEK ON THE SENATE FLOOR:
The Senate returned to work on Monday and voted to invoke cloture on the nomination of Allison Jones Rushing to be a U.S. Circuit Judge for the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.
On Tuesday, the Senate voted 53-44 to confirm Allison Jones Rushing to that position. Later Tuesday, the Senate voted to invoke cloture on the nomination of Chad A. Readler to be a U.S. Circuit Judge for the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.
On Wednesday, the Senate voted 52-47 to confirm Chad A. Readler to that position. Later Wednesday, the Senate voted to invoke cloture on the nomination of Eric E. Murphy to be a U.S. Circuit Judge for the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.
On Thursday, the Senate voted 52-46 to confirm Eric E. Murphy to that position. Then the Senate voted by 67-30 to confirm former Congressman John Fleming of Louisiana to be Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development.
And then they were done.
THIS WEEK ON THE SENATE FLOOR:
More nominations this week. Before closing down the Senate last week, Majority Leader McConnell filed cloture on the following nominations: Paul S. Matey to be a U.S. Circuit Judge for the Third Circuit Court of Appeals; Neomi Rao to be a U.S. Circuit Judge for the District of Columbia Circuit; and William Beach to be Commissioner of Labor Statistics at the Department of Labor.
The Senate will return on Monday, with the first vote set for 5:30 PM. That will be a vote on a motion to invoke cloture on the nomination of Paul Matey to be a U.S. Circuit Judge for the Third Circuit Court of Appeals.
And at some point this week, we expect the Senate will take up the House-passed resolution of disapproval on President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency at the border – that is, unless the President decides to terminate his declaration of a national emergency first.
President Trump submitted his budget for Fiscal Year 2020 on Monday. There’s good news and bad news in it.
On the good news side: The proposed budget sticks to the promise he made last year to have virtually every cabinet department cut five percent from its budget. Domestic spending and most non-defense international spending will be cut by five percent below the sequester spending caps set in the 2011 Budget Control Act, for a total of $2.7 trillion in proposed cuts over the next decade.
On the bad news side: The proposed budget continues President Trump’s refusal to reform entitlement programs – Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. These three programs account for about two-thirds of federal spending every year, and they are the real drivers of our deficits and debt. If they are not reformed within the next several years, our fiscal situation will move from terrible to terrible times two.
Defense spending is slated to increase from $716 billion in FY 2019 to $750 billion in FY 2020. But $176 billion of that will be hidden in the Overseas Contingency Operation account, which means it’s exempt from BCA spending caps. That’s a simple accounting gimmick.
The worse news is that this budget is not going to be taken seriously. With Democrats controlling the spending levels coming out of the House, it’s already being disregarded.
And the worst news of all is, this budget doesn’t even pretend to balance in 10 years. It pretends to balance in 15 years.
I anticipate that later in the year, House and Senate appropriators will come to agreement on a spending plan that raises both domestic and defense spending levels above and beyond the levels set in the 2011 Budget Control Act. And I wouldn’t be at all surprised to learn that the increases in domestic and defense spending are almost exactly equal to one another – because that’s what happens when Democrats control one house and Republicans control the other.
HOUSE DEM CHAOS:
House Democrats continue to show this year’s cast is composed of the Not Ready for Prime Time Players. Three freshmen females – Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, and Ilhan Omar – have made clear they’re not going to follow the old dictum that freshmen are to be seen, and not heard.
So twice now, Congresswoman Omar has made comments interpreted by many of her Jewish colleagues as being anti-Semitic. First she spoke of support for Israel as being “all about the Benjamins,” a reference to campaign contributions sent by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. More recently, she appeared on a panel discussion and said, “I want to talk about political influence in this country that says it is O.K. for people to push for allegiance to a foreign country.”
Many senior House Democrats who happen to be Jewish – including Eliot Engel, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Ted Deutch, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, and Jamie Raskin – were offended by her comments, and insisted that Speaker Pelosi rebuke Congresswoman Omar with a House floor vote. So they drafted a resolution labeling her comments anti-Semitic, and prepared to take the resolution to the floor.
But something happened along the way – the freshmen fought back. Specific references to Omar’s comments as being anti-Semitic were dropped, and the scope of the resolution was broadened. It wasn’t about anti-Semitism any longer, it was about anti-anti-ism. All forms of bigotry were added to the list of things to which the resolution’s supporters would swear eternal opposition.
So, by the time it came to vote on the resolution rebuking Ilhan Omar for her anti-Semitic comments, it was no longer a resolution rebuking Omar for her anti-Semitic comments. And yet all the Democrats voted for it, and all but 23 Republicans voted for it. The 23 Republicans determined that the resolution had been so watered down it was not worth voting for.
Before they were even done voting on the watered down resolution, Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign team sent out a fundraising email declaring that, “It’s official – AIPAC is coming after Alexandria, Ilhan, and Rashida. Rashida, Ilhan and Alexandria have at times dared to question our foreign policy, and the influence of money in our political system. And now, lobbying groups across the board are working to punish them for it.”
CNN reported last week that in addition to ordering former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly to see to it that his son-in-law Jared Kushner was granted a Top Secret/SCI security clearance, President Trump also ordered Kelly to procure the same clearance for his daughter, Ivanka.
STATE OF EMERGENCY:
Sometime this week, the Senate will take up the House-passed resolution of disapproval terminating the state of national emergency declared by President Trump over the border crisis. Reporting indicates that opposition among Senate Republicans may actually climb into double digits. The vast majority of them seem to be taking issue not with whether or not there is a crisis at the border – they agree there is – but over the President’s decision to use the powers granted him under the National Emergencies Act to reprogram funding from certain accounts to wall construction. They’re worried about the precedent being set – Congress has specifically chosen not to appropriate funding for a border wall, and he’s overriding Congress to reprogram funding that Congress has chosen to spend on other matters. Several have made the case that the President should terminate the state of emergency so they don’t have to vote against him.
But the odds of President Trump terminating the state of emergency are low, and the odds that the Senate will pass the resolution of disapproval are high. And if the Senate does that, President Trump has promised to veto the measure – and it does not appear that either house has sufficient numbers to override his veto.
JENNY BETH MARTIN/TEA PARTY PATRIOTS:
HOUSE DEM CHAOS:
STATE OF EMERGENCY: