Tea Party Patriots Weekly Report from Washington for 11/01/15
The House will return on Monday, November 2, with the first votes set for 6:30 PM. The House will stay in session through Thursday, with last votes expected no later than 3 PM.
The Senate will return on Tuesday, November 3. The Senate will stay in session through Friday, November 6.
LAST WEEK ON THE HOUSE FLOOR:
There were three big events on the House floor last week.
First up, on Monday, the House took up H. Res. 450, a motion to discharge the Rules Committee from the consideration of a resolution providing for the consideration of the bill (H.R. 597) to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank of the United States.
This is what’s known as a “discharge petition.” It is the ultimate tool to be used by the majority of the House, in a case where the majority of the House disagrees with the Leadership of the House. We’ve said it before about the House rules – on any given day, 218 Members can do just about anything they want.
In this case, 218 Members said they wanted to vote on a bill to reauthorize the Ex-Im Bank. The Leadership opposed that, and had allowed Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (who also opposes it) to keep it from coming out of his committee. So the majority of the House – in this case, 42 Republicans and 176 Democrats – signed a Discharge Petition and circumvented the Leadership. The petition they signed removes the bill in question – H.R. 597, offered by Rep. Stephen Fincher of TN – from the jurisdiction of the Rules Committee, and puts it directly on the floor of the House.
So there were two key votes involved – first was the vote on H. Res. 450, to remove H.R. 597 from the Rules Committee’s jurisdiction. That resolution contained a provision that said that if the resolution were adopted, then the House would proceed immediately to consideration of H.R. 597.
The vote to discharge the Rules Committee passed by 246-177, with 62 Republicans crossing over to vote with 184 Democrats.
Then, on Tuesday, the House took up and passed H.R. 597, by a vote of 313-118. On this vote, the number of Republicans supporting the measure more than doubled, growing from 62 to 127. That is, once it was clear a majority of the House was going to support reauthorization of the Ex-Im Bank, 65 Republicans who had voted AGAINST the discharge petition switched their votes to vote FOR the actual reauthorization. They were against it before they were for it. And it’ll be interesting to see how the Chamber and K Street treats them – after all, their rather obvious attempt to suck up to the Chamber came after the crucial vote on the discharge petition had already passed, when their votes weren’t really needed.
The second big event of the week began later on Tuesday night, when the congressional leadership and the White House announced that a deal had been struck to raise the debt limit and set budget guidelines for FY 2016 and FY 2017. The deal went first to the House Rules Committee, which met at 10:45 PM to consider it. The Rules Committee posted the outlines of the deal online before midnight.
At about 5:20 PM on Wednesday, less than 24 hours after the Leadership announced the deal, the House took up and passed H.R. 1314, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, by a vote of 266-167. Not surprisingly, every Democrat voted but one for it, and all 167 votes against it came from Republicans – only 79 Republicans voted for it.
The third and final big event of the week on the House floor came Thursday morning, when the House elected Paul Ryan of WI to replace John Boehner as Speaker. He won, with 236 votes.
Nine Republicans voted for Daniel Webster of FL – Dave Brat, Curt Clawson, Louie Gohmert, Paul Gosar, Walter Jones, Thomas Massie, Bill Posey, Randy Weber, and Ted Yoho.
THIS WEEK ON THE HOUSE FLOOR:
The House will return on Monday, and take up nine bills on the Suspension Calendar.
On Tuesday, and for the balance of the week, the House is expected to take up legislation related to the Highway Trust Fund, and possibly an attempt to override the President’s veto of the National Defense Authorization Act.
LAST WEEK ON THE SENATE FLOOR:
The Senate came back into session last Monday, and, at 5:30 PM, they kicked off their week by voting to confirm a U.S. District Judge.
On Tuesday, the Senate completed its work on S. 754, the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA). The bill passed by a vote of 74-21.
On Wednesday, the Senate passed by voice vote H.R. 3819, the House-passed three-week highway funding extension.
Later Wednesday afternoon, the Majority Leader began the Rule 14 process on H.R. 597, the House-passed reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank. Under Rule 14, the Majority Leader can bring a bill directly to the Senate floor, without it having to go through committee first.
Later that evening Majority Leader McConnell proceeded to and filed cloture on H.R. 1314, the budget deal. Under the rules of the Senate, that meant that the earliest they could vote to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed would be one hour after the Senate opened for business on Friday, so Sen. McConnell brought the Senate back into session at midnight Thursday night so they could vote on cloture at 1 AM Friday morning. Cloture was invoked by a vote of 63-35. Two hours later – after Rand Paul’s promised filibuster lasted less than 20 minutes – the Senate voted the deal through. It passed by a vote of 64-35.
THIS WEEK ON THE SENATE FLOOR:
The Senate will return to work at 10 AM on Tuesday morning, with the first vote set for 2:30 PM. After the drama of last week, the Senate returns to the more mundane – consideration of the motion to proceed to S. 1140, the bipartisan Federal Water Quality Protection Act. This bill addresses the Administration’s “Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS)” rule, which many have seen as draconian.
Additionally, the Senate may consider this week S.J. Res. 22, the Congressional Review Act resolution cancelling the WOTUS rule. A simple majority would be required for that vote.
On Friday, the State Department released another 7,200 pages of Hillary Clinton’s emails. It was the sixth document dump this year, and it brings to 51 percent the percentage of Clinton’s emails her lawyers identified as work-related that have been released to the public. And we now have confirmation that at least 671 emails Clinton sent or received through her private server contained classified material.
Perhaps more importantly for political purposes, Sen. Marco Rubio brought one of the fundamental questions about the emails back to center stage in the GOP presidential debate last Wednesday evening, when he called the mainstream media a “Clinton Super PAC” for covering for her, and reminded the national audience that the emails she sent on the evening of the Benghazi attack made clear that she knew at the time that the attack was the premeditated work of terrorists, rather than the result of a protest against a YouTube video gone wild – even though she continued to maintain the YouTube video fiction for several days, including at the Dover Air Force base welcome ceremony for the four caskets containing the bodies of the Americans killed in the Benghazi attacks. And if you really want to see something entertaining, you should watch the clip of CBS’s Charlie Rose interviewing Rubio the morning after the debate – he is literally gobsmacked, and acts as if he’s never heard that Hillary Clinton lied about the cause of the attacks.
IRS TARGETING SCANDAL:
On Tuesday, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz and 18 other Republicans introduced H. Res. 494, a resolution to impeach IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, accusing him of making false statements under oath and failing to comply with a subpoena for evidence.
Specifically, the resolution claims Koskinen violated the public trust by:
- Failing to comply with a subpoena for evidence, resulting in the destruction of that evidence – 422 backup tapes containing as many as 24,000 Lois Lerner emails.
- Failing to testify truthfully and providing false and misleading information – Koskinen testified that the IRS had turned over all emails relevant to the congressional investigation (including Lerner’s emails), and then, when that proved to be inaccurate, he testified that the emails were unrecoverable, which also turned out to be false.
- Failing to notify Congress that key evidence had gone missing – the IRS knew the Lerner emails were missing as early as February 2014, and, in fact, destroyed the emails in early March 2014. But the IRS didn’t tell Congress until June of that year, well after White House and Treasury officials had been notified.
The resolution has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee.
Just FYI, the last time a Cabinet officer was impeached, it was 1876, and the impeachee was Secretary of War William Belknap, who was removed even though he resigned during the process.
The budget deal agreed to by Congressional leaders and the White House suspends the debt ceiling until March of 2017, increases spending by more than $80 billion over the next two years – that’s about $50 billion in FY2016, and $30 billion in FY2017 – and sets spending guidelines for fiscal years 2016 and 2017. Defense and domestic discretionary spending went up by about the same amount.
The deal gives each side what it wants: Democrats get more domestic discretionary spending, more defense spending, and more ability to borrow – based on past spending patterns, something on the order of another trillion dollars added to the national debt – while Republicans get to cower in a corner and thank the Democrats for not whipping them harder.
Actually, Leader McConnell is spinning that he gets out of the deal two things he wanted very much – no government default, and no government shutdown. And former Speaker Boehner, who largely negotiated the deal with the White House, gets what he wants – a clean barnyard to hand over to his successor.
For his part, new Speaker Paul Ryan said the process “stinks,” but voted for the deal in the end.
Sens. Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and Rand Paul all opposed the budget deal. Cruz spoke on the floor for an hour and a half, while Paul – who had promised to filibuster the deal – instead spoke for less than twenty minutes in opposition. Oddly, he claimed credit for keeping the Senate in until 3 AM, when, in fact, it was the Senate’s schedule that kept them in that late.
Cruz’s speech ripped McConnell as “the most effective Democratic leader in modern times.” So he’s probably not going to be on the Majority Leader’s Christmas card list. But he probably wasn’t there, anyway.
TEA PARTY PATRIOTS/JENNY BETH MARTIN:
IRS TARGETING SCANDAL: