Tea Party Patriots Weekly Report From Washington for 1/25/16

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Tea Party Patriots Weekly Report from Washington for 1/24/16

CALENDAR:

The House has declared a “Snow Week,” and will not be in session this week.

The Senate will come back into session Wednesday, and then they’re scheduled to stay in through

Friday.

LAST WEEK ON THE HOUSE FLOOR:

The House was in recess last week, so nothing of note happened on the House floor.

THIS WEEK ON THE HOUSE FLOOR:

Nothing – it’s a Snow Week!

LAST WEEK ON THE SENATE FLOOR:

On Tuesday, the Senate opened its week with a vote to confirm Wilhelmina Marie Wright of

Minnesota to be U.S. District Judge for the District of Minnesota. Heritage Action put out a key vote

alert against the confirmation, and, consequently, it only passed by a vote of 58-36.

Later on Tuesday, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell began the Rule 14 process on S.J. Res. 29, the

Authorization for the Use of Military Force.

On Wednesday, the Senate tried to invoke cloture on S.J. Res. 22, the veto message related to the

congressional resolution of disapproval that would cancel the Administration’s “Waters of the U.S”

regulation. Sixty votes were needed, but it fell short, failing by a vote of 52-40.

Later that day, the Senate tried to take up H.R. 4038, the American SAFE Act – remember, that’s

“Security Against Foreign Enemies” – which passed the House late last year with a veto-proof

majority. This is the bill that would effectively put a “pause” in the refugee resettlement program for

refugees from Syria and Iraq until the Obama Administration could certify to Congress that they

weren’t a national security threat.

Democrats had considered voting with Republicans to invoke cloture on the Motion To Proceed to the

bill; they wanted to offer amendments that would be difficult for Republicans (such as an amendment

to block all Muslims from entering the United States, as Donald Trump has called for). But they

couldn’t get Leader McConnell to agree to allow those amendments on the floor. Instead, McConnell

insisted on an open amendment process, where any Senator could offer any amendment for

consideration, with the two parties alternating amendments until all had been dealt with.

Harry Reid may be many things, but he’s no dummy. He understood that in the open amendment

process outlined by McConnell, any single Senator could have objected to consideration of an

amendment on the floor, and it would have required 60 votes to have that amendment considered –

so, in other words, there was no guarantee that any particular amendment would get a floor vote.

Consequently, the Democrats objected to the Motion To Proceed, and the vote went down by 55-33.

On Thursday, Leader McConnell began the Rule 14 process for S. 2464, Sen. Rand Paul’s Life at

Conception Act, a bill to implement equal protection under the 14th Amendment to the Constitution for

the right to life of each born and preborn human person.

THIS WEEK ON THE SENATE FLOOR:

The Senate appears to be made of hardier people than the House – they’re not taking the entire week

off; they’re just pushing things back one day. So they’ll begin on Wednesday, with a 5:30 PM

confirmation vote on a district judge. Then they’ll move to consideration of S. 2012, the Energy Policy

Modernization Act, which came out of committee by a vote of 18-4.

Other items that could see floor time next week: the Customs bill Conference Report (already passed

by the House), the North Korea sanctions legislation (already passed by the House), and possibly

other nominations.

EXECUTIVE AMNESTY/IMMIGRATION:

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court agreed to take up the issue of the President’s plan to defer

deportation of the illegal immigrant parents of children who are citizens or have permanent residency

here in the United States. Two lower courts – District Judge Andrew Hanen, and the Fifth Circuit

Court of Appeals – have already struck down the President’s plan for his failure to follow the

requirements of the Administrative Procedures Act.

The Court is expected to rule on the issue by the end of its term in June.

Interestingly, the justices asked the parties to the case to address whether the President violated his

constitutional duty to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed.” Court-watchers believe this

question must have come from the conservative justices on the Court, as the liberals on the Court

wouldn’t want to have this question briefed and argued.

CLINTON EMAIL:

Lots of news this week on the Clinton email front.

Last Monday, the Daily Caller reported that State Department emails confirmed that Stephen D. Mull,

then the executive secretary of the State Department, tried in August 2011 to get Secretary Clinton to

use a government-issued secure email account, but Huma Abedin resisted the suggestion, saying

replacing her setup “doesn’t make a lot of sense.”

On Tuesday, FOX News broke the story that on January 14, Intelligence Community Inspector

General I. Charles McCullough III – appointed to his position by President Obama – sent an

unclassified letter to senior lawmakers saying that Clinton’s emails on her unsecured server

contained intelligence from the U.S. Government’s “most secretive and highly classified programs,”

including intelligence from what are called “Special Access Programs” – where the intelligence is so

highly classified that even Members of Congress who have clearances to see intelligence because

they sit on certain committees have to sign new nondisclosure agreements before they can get

access to the intelligence. In fact, this level of classification is so high that even Intelligence

Community Inspector General McCullough did not initially have clearance to examine the intelligence.

The Clinton campaign responded by denouncing what it called “leaks,” and suggested the Obama-

appointed IC IG was “coordinating” with Republicans to damage Clinton’s presidential prospects.

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On Friday, former U.S. Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey published an op-ed in The Wall Street

Journal making the case that based just on what we know from the public record so far, criminal

charges are warranted against Secretary Clinton.

Later that day, FOX News reported that “at least one of the emails on Hillary Clinton’s private server

contained extremely sensitive information identified by an intelligence agency as ‘HCS-O,’ which is

the code used for reporting on human intelligence sources in ongoing operations.”

IRAN:

On Thursday, the Department of Homeland Security announced changes to the visa waiver program,

which allows citizens from 38 countries to enter the U.S. without a visa.

Under a new policy put in place after the enactment late last year of a new law meant to tighten

inflows from certain countries where terrorists have major influence, DHS declared the policy would

not prohibit people from entering if they have recently traveled or are dual citizens from Iran, Iraq,

Syria and Sudan; but citizens matching those criteria would have to obtain a visa from the State

Department before visiting.

But the Administration on Thursday announced it is creating a carve-out solely for Iran, with visa

waivers handed out on a case-by-case basis to people who have traveled there for “legitimate

business-related purposes” following adoption of the nuclear deal. THAT is NOT in the new law, and,

in fact, subverts the intention of the new law.

The law passed last year retained the option for the Administration to waive the visa requirement if

someone’s travel was “in the law enforcement or national security interests of the United States.”

Instead, by adding this new interpretation, the Administration is going to allow visa waivers for

business purposes, to mollify the Iranians, who were outraged at the passage of the law after the Iran

nuclear deal was struck.

House Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul went ballistic, pointing out that just such

additional waivers had been discussed during consideration of the legislation, and had been explicitly

rejected. House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte joined McCaul in blasting the Administration,

declaring, “The Obama Administration is essentially rewriting the law by blowing wide open a small

window of discretion that Congress gave it for law enforcement and national security reasons … In

fact, the categories of people that the Obama Administration is exempting from the law were

expressly rejected by Congress.”

The Administration’s decision makes clear what this deal was really all about – money. By lifting the

sanctions, Obama opened the door of the Iranian market. For instance, before the ink was dry last

Saturday on the documents lifting the sanctions, the European aircraft conglomerate Airbus

announced it had struck a deal with Iran’s national airline to deliver 114 new airplanes, at a price tag

of over $10 billion. Boeing wants some of that. The auto companies see money to be made, too –

they recognize that the Iranian commercial truck fleet of 56,000 trucks needs to be replaced over the

coming years. And the list goes on and on. Iranian media reported on Monday that Iranian

businesses had opened more than 1,000 letters of credit on the first day of sanctions relief so they

can finance deals.

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SUGGESTED READING:

JENNY BETH MARTIN/TPP:

 

WT: Jenny Beth Martin: The Dangers of Obama’s One-Man Show

 

AGENDA:

Hill: Obama Eyes “Audacious” Use Of Executive Power In Final Year

NRO: Heritage Action Is Making Its Priorities For Paul Ryan’s ‘Bold Conservative Agenda’ Known

RCP: One Year Later Freedom Caucus Upbeat On 2016 Goals

NJ: Divided GOP Ponders Way Forward On Criminal Justice Reform

Hill: GOP Eyes Election Year Tax Deal

Hill: House Declares Snow Week

 

CLINTON EMAILS:

 DC: Exclusive: Clinton Aides Resisted State Department Suggestion That Clinton Use State.gov Account

FOX: Inspector General: Clinton Emails Had Intel from the Most Secretive, Classified Programs

NBC News: Hillary Clinton’s Emails Contained Information Above Top Secret

Politico: Watchdog: Clinton’s Server Had Classified Material Beyond Top Secret

DC: Hillary’s Campaign Accuses Intel IG Of Coordinating With GOP On Damning Email Reports

Politico: Clinton Campaign Accuses GOP Of ‘Coordinated Leak’ In Email Scandal

FOX: Clinton Emails So Secret Some Lawmakers Can’t Read Them

Hill: State Tries To Delay Clinton Email Release, Blaming Snowstorm

WSJ: Former AG: Clinton’s Emails: A Criminal Charge Is Justified

Hill: Former AG: Clinton Should Be Charged over Classified Emails

FOX: EXCLUSIVE: Clinton Email Exposed Intel from Human Spying

WT: Email Scandal Puts Hillary’s Presidential Aspirations in Peril

 

EXECUTIVE AMNESTY/IMMIGRATION:

Hill: Report SCOTUS Call On Immigration Appeal May Come Soon

WSJ: Supreme Court To Rule On Obama’s Bid To Block Deportations

RC: High Court Ruling On Immigration Expected Amid Heated Campaign

Politico: Senate Democrats May Try To Pin GOP With Immigration Votes

Hill: Refugee Bill Stalls In Senate After Battle Over Trump Amendment

Politico: Senate Democrats Blockade Refugee Bill

 

IRAN:

 WSJ: The Terrorists Freed By Obama

WSJ: Iran’s Hostage Triumph

Washington Times: Iran Welcomes Business Rush As Sanctions Are Lifted

NJ: GOP’s Iran Frustration

Hill: GOP Explodes In Anger As Feds Create Iran Carve Out For Visas

 

OBAMACARE:

 RC: Supreme Court Declines To Take ObamaCare Challenge

DC: Republican Lawmakers Issue ObamaCare Subpoena To Treasury Secretary Jack Lew

 

MISCELLANEOUS:

Politico: Judge Rejects Obama’s Executive Privilege Claim Over Fast And Furious Records

WE: Senate Okays Obama Judge Over Conservative Objections

RC: Campaign Venom Blocks Syrian Refugee Debate