Tea Party Patriots Weekly Report from Washington for 1/10/16

CALENDAR:

The House returns Monday, and will stay in session through Wednesday. Then House Republicans will travel to Baltimore for their annual retreat, where, if all goes as planned, they’ll hear from Jordan’s King Abdullah as their keynote speaker on Wednesday night.

The Senate will come back into session on Monday to vote on a judicial nominee, then will stay in session until Wednesday, at which point Senate Republicans will join their House counterparts in Baltimore.

The President will give his final State of the Union address on Tuesday evening at 9 PM. Governor Nikki Haley of South Carolina will give the official Republican response following the President’s remarks.

LAST WEEK ON THE HOUSE FLOOR:

On Wednesday, the House took up and passed the Senate amendment to H.R. 3762, the reconciliation bill that repeals many of the essential elements of ObamaCare and also defunds Planned Parenthood. The vote was 240-181, with 13 Members not voting. On Friday, the President vetoed it. Current planning is for the House to hold a veto override vote the final week of January.

On Thursday, the House took up and passed the Senate amendment to H.R. 1155, the Searching for and Cutting Regulations that are Unnecessarily Burdensome Act. Yes, if you don’t capitalize a few words in there, you’ll find that that’s the SCRUB Act. The bill passed by a vote of 245-174, with 14 Members not voting.

On Friday, the House took up and passed by a vote of 211-188, with 33 Members not voting, H.R. 1927, the Fairness in Class Action Litigation and Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency Act of 2015. The bill would improve fairness in class action litigation.

THIS WEEK ON THE HOUSE FLOOR:

On Monday, the House will come back into session, with no votes before 6:30 PM. At that point they’ll line up a series of nine votes on the Suspension Calendar, including H.R. 757, the North Korea Sanctions Enforcement Act of 2016, introduced last February by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce of CA. Among its several sections, the bill requires the President to investigate any credible information of sanctionable activities involving North Korea (like, say, a North Korean Government declaration that it has conducted a test of a hydrogen bomb), and requires him to designate and apply sanctions. According to Chairman Royce, the bill would “prohibit North Korea’s access to hard currency and other measures to block and seize assets related to nuclear proliferation, illicit activities, and human rights violations that are the hallmark of the Kim regime.”

On Tuesday, the House will consider H.R. 1644, the STREAM Act, subject to a Rule. Offered by Rep. Alex Mooney of WV, the bill would amend the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 to direct the Department of the Interior to make publicly available online and in the Federal Register, 90 days before publication, any draft, proposed, supplemental, final, or emergency rule, or any environmental analysis, economic assessment, policy, or guidance, and each scientific product upon which the Department has relied in developing the rule, the analysis, or the assessment.

The House will recess no later than 5:30 PM and reconvene at approximately 8:35 PM for a Joint Session of Congress to receive the President’s State of the Union Address.

The House will come back into session Wednesday to take up two items:

First, H.R. 3662, the Iran Terror Finance Transparency Act, offered by Rep. Steve Russell of OK, which was introduced on October 1 of last year – AFTER the Corker-Cardin bill was enacted – which prohibits the President from removing certain foreign financial institutions, including an Iranian financial institution, from the list of designated nationals and blocked persons maintained by the Office of Foreign Asset Control of the Treasury until the President makes two certifications to Congress:

First, “that the institution has not knowingly facilitated a significant transaction or transactions or provided significant financial services for or on behalf of” Iran’s Revolutionary Guard or its agents or affiliates whose property or property interests are blocked pursuant to the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA); “a foreign terrorist organization for or on behalf of a person whose property or property interests have been blocked pursuant to Executive Order 13224; and a person whose property or property interests are blocked pursuant to the IEEPA in connection with Iran’s proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.”

Second, the President shall certify that “the institution no longer knowingly engages in illicit or deceptive financial transactions or other activities.”

The second bill the House will take up on Wednesday will be the vote on S.J. Res. 22, providing for congressional disapproval of the rule submitted by the Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency relating to the definition of “Waters of the United States.”

Then the House will go into recess so the Republican Members can go to Baltimore for their annual retreat.

LAST WEEK ON THE SENATE FLOOR:

The Senate was not in session last week. 

THIS WEEK ON THE SENATE FLOOR:

The Senate will come back into session Monday, and will begin its week with a vote on a judicial nominee.

On Tuesday, the Senate is expected to conduct a cloture vote on the motion to proceed to S. 2232, Sen. Rand Paul’s bill to audit the Federal Reserve. There will be 60 votes required to invoke cloture and begin debate on the legislation.

Following the President’s State of the Union address, the Senate will recess so Senate Republicans can join their House Republican counterparts for their annual retreat, in Baltimore.

BENGHAZI:

On Wednesday, former CIA Director General David Petraeus appeared before the House Select Committee on Benghazi for a four-hour interview. Afterwards, committee Chairman Trey Gowdy said Petraeus would return to answer more questions.

On Thursday, the committee held an interview session with Charlene Lamb, a former State Department official in charge of diplomatic security.

On Friday, former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta appeared before the committee in a five-hour closed-door session. 

CLINTON EMAIL:

On Tuesday, appearing on a talk radio show, former U.S. Attorney Joe DiGenova – who’s had top-level contacts inside the FBI for decades – declared that, regarding the ongoing investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails and the potential mishandling of classified information, “The [FBI] has so much information about criminal conduct by her and her staff that there is no way that they walk away from this … They are going to make a recommendation that people be charged and then Loretta Lynch is going to have the decision of a lifetime. I believe the evidence that the FBI is compiling will be so compelling that, unless [Lynch] agrees to the charges, there will be a massive revolt inside the FBI, which she will not be able to survive as attorney general. It will be like Watergate. It will be unbelievable.”

Early Friday morning, in response to a judge’s order, the State Department released another batch of Hillary Clinton emails. Buried in the 3,007 email document dump – of which the State Department said 66 were classified, bringing the total number to 1,340 – was an email exchange between Clinton and Jake Sullivan, her policy planning director at the State Department, from June, 2011, in which Clinton informed Sullivan that she had not yet received a set of talking points she’d been waiting for.

“They say they’ve had issues sending secure fax. They’re working on it,” replied Sullivan.

Clinton responded, “If they can’t, turn into nonpaper w no identifying heading and send nonsecure.”

In other words, Clinton seemed to be instructing one of her senior aides to strip a document of its identifying markings – that is, its classification markings – and then send it to her using a non-secured communications channel.

In response, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley of IA on Friday released a statement saying, “The State Department’s latest Freedom of Information Act release contains a disturbing email that appears to show the former Secretary of State instructing a subordinate to remove the headings from a classified document and send it to her in an unsecure manner … It raises a whole host of serious questions and underscores the importance of the various inquiries into the transmittal of classified information through her non-governmental email server.”

So far, 82 percent of Clinton’s emails have been released to the public. We expect the last tranche to be released at the end of this month.

IRAN:

Despite Iran’s having recently conducted not one but two ballistic missile tests in defiance of U.N. Security Council resolutions, the Obama Administration appears headed toward lifting sanctions, possibly as soon as this month. The final step could be just “days away,” says Secretary of State John Kerry.

That’s why the House will be taking up H.R. 3662, to tie the Administration’s hands, preventing it from lifting sanctions on Iranian banks unless the President first certifies to Congress that those banks are not involved in financing terrorist activities or ballistic missiles.

IRS:

On Thursday, the Internal Revenue Service announced its decision to withdraw its plan to have nonprofit charities report the Social Security numbers of donors who give $250 in any given year. The new IRS notice to be published in the Federal Register says that “The Treasury Department and the IRS received a substantial number of public comments in response to the notice of proposed rulemaking … Many of these public comments questioned the need for donee reporting, and many comments expressed significant concerns about donee organizations collecting and maintaining taxpayer identification numbers … Accordingly, the notice of proposed rulemaking is being withdrawn.”

FOX News confirmed with the IRS that they decided to back off in reaction to the public comments.

This would not have happened if it had not been for Tea Party Patriots supporters. The IRS says they received a total of roughly 37,000 public comments – and we know we generated more than 16,000 of them, in opposition. Congratulate yourselves, and thank you!

SUGGESTED READING:

JENNY BETH MARTIN/TPP:

Jenny Beth Martin: An Agenda for House Republicans

FOX: IRS Nixes Controversial Plan To Collect Social Security Numbers of Charity Donors

AGENDA:

Politico: Jordan’s King Abdullah Tapped To Keynote GOP Retreat

RC: State of the Union, Party Retreat Kicks Off Partisan Battles

BENGHAZI: 

Hill: Petraeus Appears at Benghazi Panel

Hill: Panetta Testifies Before Benghazi Committee

CLINTON EMAILS:

WaPo: State Department Gave ‘Inaccurate’ Answer on Clinton Email Use, Review Says

WT: State Department Misled Public on Clinton Emails, Investigation Continues

DC: Hillary Will Be Indicted, Says Former US Attorney

Politico: GOP Slams Clinton’s Request To Use ‘Nonsecure’ Email Channel

CNN: Senator: Newly Released Clinton Email ‘Disturbing’

Hill: Email: Clinton Asked Advisor To Send ‘Secure Fax’ by Email

GUNS:

WaPo: Obama Details Executive Action on Gun Restrictions

Hill: Emotional Obama Unveils New Executive Actions on Gun Control

Hill: Obama, Dems All in on Gun Control in 2016

Hill; Obama, NRA on Collision Course

Hill: GOP Scrambles for Response to Obama’s Gun Control Actions

TH: Obama: I Know the Second Amendment — ‘I Taught Constitutional Law’

IRAN:

Hill: US Barrels Toward Lifting Iran Sanctions

IRS:

FOX: IRS Nixes Controversial Plan To Collect Social Security Numbers of Charity Donors

NATIONAL SECURITY:

Politico: Ryan Eyes Islamic State War Measure

RC: McConnell: New War Authorization Not Happening Anytime Soon

WaPo: House Readies North Korea Sanctions Bill in Response to Nuke Test

OBAMACARE:

Hill: House Passes ObamaCare Repeal, Sending Measure to President

NYT: House Votes To Send Bill To Repeal Health Law to Obama’s Desk

Hill: Obama Vetoes Health Repeal Bill

TRANS-PACIFIC PARTNERSHIP:

Hill: Obama Trade Agenda Gets Big Boost

Hill: GOP in No Hurry To Move Obama’s TPP

LEADERSHIP FIGHTS:

Politico: Rep. Labrador to Paul Ryan: Honeymoon Is Over

WaPo: House Conservatives Push Ryan To Deliver on Their Agenda

Hill: Exclusive: House Republicans Recruited Carson for Speaker

Politico: GOP Weighs Plan To Further Gut Filibuster

Politico: The Freshman with More Senate Sway than Cruz or Rubio