Tea Party Patriots Weekly Report From Washington for 1/25/16
Tea Party Patriots Weekly Report from Washington for 1/24/16
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
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
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.
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.
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.”
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.
JENNY BETH MARTIN/TPP: