Tea Party Patriots Action Weekly Report from Washington for 5/6/19
The House will return Tuesday and stay in session through Friday, while the Senate will return Monday and stay in session through Thursday.
LAST WEEK ON THE HOUSE FLOOR:
The House came back to work on Monday, and passed one bill under Suspension of the Rules.
On Tuesday, the House passed two bills under Suspension.
On Wednesday, the House passed the Rules governing consideration of H.R. 9, the Climate Action Now Act.
On Thursday, the House passed H.R. 9, by a vote of 231-190.
And then they were done.
THIS WEEK ON THE HOUSE FLOOR:
The House will return Tuesday, with the first votes set for 6:30 PM. At that time, the House is scheduled to consider three bills under Suspension of the Rules.
On Wednesday, the House will consider another five bills under Suspension of the Rules.
On Thursday and Friday, the House will consider H.R. 986, the Protecting Americans with Preexisting Conditions Act of 2019, and H.R. 2157, the Supplemental Appropriations Act.
And I want to give you a heads’ up on something that may appear on the House floor NEXT week – H.R. 5, the Equality Act, which would alter the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to add two more protected classes: sexual orientation and gender identity.
Though it is, ironically, named “the Equality Act,” the policies contained within the bill would actually create greater inequality, hurting women and individuals of faith, by forcing “both public and private schools, churches, hospitals, businesses, and other institutions to recognize an individual’s ‘chosen gender’ instead of their ‘biological sex,’” in the words of a Heritage Action for America background paper. “The end result is that women and girls would be forced to share bathrooms, locker rooms, dormitories, and other private places with biological men who ‘identify’ as women. These are places where women should feel safe and secure, and many women do not feel safe and secure when sharing these facilities with biological men … This bill would limit the free exercise of religion, attacking individuals, charities, and businesses by forcing them to give up traditional norms regarding gender and marriage and recognize all forms of sexual orientation. We are already seeing this play out. Liberals are targeting faith-based adoption agencies for their refusal to place children in homes without both a mother and a father.” You can read more about H.R. 5 in the Suggested Reading.
LAST WEEK ON THE SENATE FLOOR:
The Senate came back to work on Monday and voted to invoke cloture on the nomination of William Cooper to be General Counsel of the Department of Energy. On Tuesday, the Senate voted to confirm him to that position.
Later Tuesday, the Senate voted to invoke cloture on the nomination of R. Clarke Cooper to be Assistant Secretary of State. Then the Senate voted to confirm him to that position.
Then the Senate voted to invoke cloture on the nomination of Gordon Hartogensis to be Director of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation. Then the Senate voted to confirm him to that position.
Then the Senate voted to invoke cloture on the nomination of J. Campbell Barker to be U.S. District Judge for the Eastern District of Texas.
On Wednesday, the Senate voted to confirm him to that position.
Then the Senate voted to invoke cloture on the nomination of Andrew Lynn Brasher to be U.S. District Judge for the Middle District of Alabama. Then the Senate voted to confirm him to that position.
Then the Senate voted to invoke cloture on the nomination of Rodolfo Armando Ruiz II to be U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of Florida. Then the Senate voted to invoke cloture on the nomination of Raul M. Arias-Marxuach to be U.S. District Judge for the District of Puerto Rico. Then the Senate voted to invoke cloture on the nomination of Joshua Wolson to be U.S. District Judge for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
On Thursday, the Senate voted to confirm Rodolfo Armando Ruiz II to be U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of Florida. Then the Senate voted to confirm Raul M. Arias-Marxuach to be U.S. District Judge for the District of Puerto Rico. Then the Senate voted to confirm Joshua Wolson to be U.S. District Judge for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
Then the Senate took up the veto override vote on S.J.Res. 7, a joint resolution to direct the removal of U.S. Armed Forces from hostilities in the Republic of Yemen that have not been authorized by Congress. The veto override garnered 53 votes in the affirmative, to 45 votes in opposition, but failed because it did not reach the necessary two-thirds threshold.
And then they were done.
THIS WEEK ON THE SENATE FLOOR:
The Senate will return Monday, with the first vote set for 5:30 PM. That will be a vote to invoke cloture on the nomination of Joseph F. Bianco to be a U.S. Circuit Judge for the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.
Based on cloture filings by Majority Leader McConnell, the Senate will then move to consider the following nominations in the following order:
Kimberly A. Reed to be President of the Export-Import Bank; Spencer Bachus III to be a Member of the Board of Directors of the Export-Import Bank; Judith DelZoppo Pryor to be a Member of the Board of Directors of the Export-Import Bank; Janet Dhillon to be a Member of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission; Michael H. Park, to be a U.S. Circuit Judge for the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.
Last Monday evening, President Trump issued a memo ordering his senior Administration officials to develop regulations to bar certain asylum seekers from obtaining work authorization, impose fees on asylum applications, hasten immigration court case resolutions, and limit access to other forms of relief. The result would be a tougher and faster system for determining asylum application outcomes.
The memo was directed to the Attorney General and the Secretary of Homeland Security, and gives them 90 days to come up with plans to execute his wishes.
As I mentioned above, this week the Senate will be voting on three nominees to be added to the Board of the Export-Import Bank. As you may recall from our discussion of a month ago, the Ex-Im Bank board currently only has two of its five slots filled. That means it does not have a full quorum, which is three members. Without a quorum, the Ex-Im Bank’s bylaws do not allow the bank to approve a loan guarantee larger than $10 million. So for the last three-and-a-half years, the Ex-Im Bank has been limited to guaranteeing nothing more than small loans.
That will change this week, if and when any of these three nominees is confirmed.
Last Tuesday, President Trump hosted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and a number of their Democrat colleagues at the White House for a discussion of a possible infrastructure deal. At meeting’s end, Schumer and Pelosi told assembled reporters that the President had agreed to work on a $2 trillion spending proposal, and said he had agreed to a second meeting, to take place in three weeks, at which he would offer his thoughts on potential pay-fors.
During the meeting, President Trump reportedly dismissed his own Administration’s earlier infrastructure proposals, which relied on public-private partnerships to leverage about $200 billion in federal funding into $1 trillion of overall spending. He said those proposals were “stupid,” and blamed them on Gary Cohn, his former National Economic Council director.
Instead, he apparently wants to spend $2 trillion in taxpayer funds to rebuild infrastructure. If that is the case, he is going to run into opposition from within his own Administration – Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney will oppose that, for starters – and on Capitol Hill, where Republicans will look unfavorably on any attempt to raise the taxes necessary to pay for such a big-ticket item.
Last Tuesday evening, Washington was abuzz with a Washington Post breaking news report about a late March letter that Special Counsel Robert Mueller wrote to Attorney General William Barr, suggesting that Barr’s four-page memo to Congress describing the principal conclusions of Mueller’s report “did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance” of Mueller’s work. The letter had been sent on March 27, three days after Barr’s release to Congress of his four-page summary.
The day after Mueller sent Barr the letter, the two spoke by telephone. According to the Post, “In that call, Mueller said he was concerned that media coverage of the obstruction probe was misguided and creating public misunderstandings about the office’s work, according to Justice Department officials. Mueller did not express similar concerns about the public discussion of Russia’s election interference, the officials said. Barr has testified previously that he did not know whether Mueller supported his conclusion on obstruction. When Barr pressed Mueller on whether he thought Barr’s memo to Congress was inaccurate, Mueller said he did not but felt that the media coverage of it was misinterpreting the investigation, officials said.”
So, according to the Department of Justice officials who served as sources for The Washington Post, Bob Mueller was upset not because he thought Barr’s four-page summary memo was inaccurate, but because he believed media coverage was getting it wrong. Unhappy at media coverage, Mr. Special Counsel? Welcome to Washington, 2019.
By the way, the passage about Mueller not thinking Barr’s memo was inaccurate was buried thirteen paragraphs deep in the Post story.
In the event, that was the scene-setter for Wednesday, when Attorney General Barr testified for six hours in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Later that day, the Department of Justice announced that he would not appear for scheduled testimony the next day before the House Judiciary Committee.
Congressional Democrats were and are furious with Barr. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler has subpoenaed the unredacted Mueller report and its underlying evidence. He wanted that delivered to him last Wednesday, the day before Barr was scheduled to appear at a House Judiciary Committee hearing. Nadler has now given Barr an ultimatum – deliver what Nadler wants by 9 AM Monday morning, or face an attempt to hold Barr in contempt of Congress. Others are demanding he resign, or face impeachment. Speaker Pelosi declared at her weekly press conference that he had in no uncertain terms lied to Congress, and that this was a crime. She is, of course, so wrong it’s not even funny, but it is what it is.
The mainstream media suggests Democrats are expressing their outrage at Barr as a proxy for Trump – that is, they’re REALLY angry at President Trump, but are scared to impeach him, so they’re dumping all over Barr as a means to venting their frustrations at Trump. That may well be, but I think that analysis is actually rather facile and does congressional Democrats a disservice.
I think there’s something else going on here – Democrats are deliberately piling on Barr for a more sinister reason: They’re deliberately trying to make him toxic so that if and when he issues a report after his investigation into just how the Russia Hoax investigation began, his word will be mud with the general public. I think they are very, very afraid of what he might learn, and they want to poison the well for him with the public long before he ever gets close to issuing a report on what kind of shenanigans were going on in the summer of 2016.
House Democrats are working on getting Mueller to testify before the Judiciary Committee. President Trump has already indicated he will fight any attempt to have his former White House Counsel, Don McGahn, testify.
Meanwhile, in its annual attempt to balance the ideological scales and demonstrate that its editors have a sense of humor, The New York Times on Thursday published a piece entitled, “FBI Sent Investigator Posing as Assistant to Meet With Trump Aide in 2016,” detailing how the FBI deliberately threw a line into the water near Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos – a line with bait on its end, in the form of a flirtatious female who asked Papadopoulos a direct question: “Was the Trump campaign working with Russia?” You can read more about it in the Suggested Reading.
This morning, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler responded to the Justice Department’s failure to turn over the unredacted Mueller report by his 9 AM deadline by announcing that he would schedule a markup session for Wednesday morning at 10 AM, at which he would move for a citation for Contempt of Congress by the Attorney General.
On Thursday, our friend Stephen Moore withdrew from consideration as a possible Trump appointee to the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. And Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced his resignation from his position.
JENNY BETH MARTIN/TEA PARTY PATRIOTS: