Tea Party Patriots Weekly Report from Washington for 10/18/15
The House will return on Tuesday, October 20, with the first votes set for 6:30 PM. The House will stay in session through Friday, October 23.
The Senate will return on Monday, October 19, with the first vote set for 11 AM Tuesday. The Senate will stay in session through Friday, October 23.
LAST WEEK ON THE HOUSE FLOOR:
The House was in recess last week for the Columbus Day holiday.
THIS WEEK ON THE HOUSE FLOOR:
The House will open its week on Tuesday, with six bills considered on the Suspension Calendar.
On Wednesday, they’ll consider one bill under Suspension, and then they’ll take up two bills: H.R. 692, the Default Prevention Act, authored by Tom McClintock of CA, and H.R. 10, the SOAR Reauthorization Act, sponsored by John Boehner.
H.R. 692 does just what it sounds like – it would prevent a default by the Government of the United States by guaranteeing that the sovereign debt of the United States will be paid in full and on time, under any circumstances. Interestingly, it does this not by requiring the Secretary of the Treasury to prioritize the payment of principal and interest on outstanding bonds of the U.S. Government, but by authorizing, in the event the debt limit is reached, the Treasury Secretary to continue to borrow above the limit for the sole purpose of paying principal and interest due on the debt, thereby guaranteeing that the debt of the U.S. is honored.
A similar bill authored by McClintock passed in the last Congress, but was never taken up by the Senate, if you can believe it.
H.R. 10 is the Scholarships for Opportunity and Results Act, which would authorize the appropriation of $60 million per year from 2017-2020 for school choice programs in the District of Columbia.
On Thursday, they’ll consider H.R. 1937, the National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act.
On Friday, they’ll vote on the reconciliation bill that repeals certain sections of the Affordable Care Act, including the individual and employer mandates, the Independent Payment Advisory Board, and the Cadillac and Medical Device Taxes, and also repeals federal funding for Planned Parenthood.
LAST WEEK ON THE SENATE FLOOR:
The Senate was in recess last week for the Columbus Day holiday.
THIS WEEK ON THE SENATE FLOOR:
The Senate will return and gavel into session on Monday at 4 PM. The first vote of the week will take place at 11 AM on Tuesday morning, on the confirmation of a U.S. District Judge. The Senate will break for its conference lunches, and upon return at 2:15 will hold a cloture vote on the Motion To Proceed to S. 2146, the Stop Sanctuary Policies and Protect Americans Act.
There are several different variations of bills that aim to address the Sanctuary Cities problem. This particular bill was introduced by Sen. David Vitter of LA, and has a total of 13 cosponsors, including original cosponsors Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. It’s been given the thumbs-up by the Center for Immigration Studies.
Very liberal Republican Congressman Richard Hanna of upstate NY added fuel to the fire this week when he deliberately chose to say that the Benghazi Committee was a partisan exercise meant to go after Hillary Clinton. This wasn’t a slip of the tongue, or a simple faux pas; he chose his words carefully and deliberately, and did it for impact, thinking it would separate him from what he sees as the “damage” caused by the Committee.
Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin testified for eight hours Friday before the House Select Committee on Benghazi. Three Members were present – Republicans Mike Pompeo of KS and Lynn Westmoreland of GA, and Democrat Ranking Member Elijah Cummings of MD. Afterwards, Ms. Abedin thanked the committee for the courtesy shown her, and Cummings trashed the committee again for what he referred to as a taxpayer-funded witch hunt.
On Thursday, October 22, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will testify before the Select Committee on Benghazi.
The Secretary of the Treasury has changed his estimate of the drop dead date on the national debt limit – he now says his smoke and mirrors will run out on November 3, two days earlier than he estimated a few weeks ago. So sometime in the next two weeks, we’re very likely to see a bill to raise the debt ceiling move through the House and Senate. And given that Sen. McConnell and Speaker Boehner have waited as long as they have to bring legislation to the floor, I’d be willing to bet that you see Boehner attempt to muscle a so-called “clean” debt ceiling increase through the House on his way out the door.
There’s nothing new to report on the Ex-Im front – the discharge petition has been signed by enough Members to force a vote on the House floor. We haven’t heard anything new out of the Senate.
Two items of interest on the Iran front:
First, last weekend, Iran tested a new surface-to-air missile. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power said that the missile test violated current U.N. sanctions against Iran. She went on to say that one of the “really important features” of the new Iran deal will be “enforcement of the resolutions and standards” that are already in place; but then, when asked whether Iran’s action would affect the new Iran deal, she shrugged it off, saying “I think we have to walk and chew gum at the same time.”
Second, just FYI, the Iran deal goes into effect Sunday, October 18.
Politico reported this week that Democrats have announced they will not agree to entitlement reform as part of any longer-range spending deal, so the parameters of a potential deal have been restricted. And, given the need to raise the debt limit long before the next funding bill needs to be passed, it looks like the debt ceiling increase and the full-year spending bill will be considered separately.
House and Senate leadership aides tested a trial balloon last week, suggesting to reporters that the Leaders may hold the TPP vote until the lame duck session after the 2016 elections. They know this vote is going to be a tough vote for their Members, and want to protect them before an election; moreover, they know that waiting until the lame duck session would give them an opportunity to pick up votes from Members who aren’t coming back for the 115th Congress, and would also mean that even among the Members who ARE coming back, it’d be two years before their constituents could move to hold them accountable.
This, of course, cannot be allowed to happen. It would make a mockery of the notion that legislators are to be held accountable to their constituents.
In an odd coincidence, the Obama White House threw cold water on the idea shortly after hearing about it for the first time. They don’t want to wait more than a year for a vote to ratify the agreement.
Remember, under the terms of the TPA that was enacted this spring, the President must notify Congress at least 90 days before he signs the agreement. And the agreement must be made public at least 60 days before he signs it.
Then, once he signs it, the Congress has up to 90 days to consider the agreement.
LEADERSHIP FIGHTS/BOEHNER RESIGNATION:
There’s really not a lot to report on the race for the Speakership. We’ve been in a holding pattern all week, with Establishment Republicans doing their best behind the scenes to woo Paul Ryan into the race, and conservative opposition from outside the Congress building against a potential Ryan candidacy. Conservative icons Richard Viguerie and Phyllis Schlafly both came out in opposition to Ryan for Speaker, and radio hosts Mark Levin and Laura Ingraham, along with RedState’s Erick Erickson, joined them.
FYI, Jenny Beth has submitted a longer piece opposing Ryan to Politico, and we expect to see that posted online in the next day or two.
TEA PARTY PATRIOTS/JENNY BETH MARTIN: