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Congress to Vote to Give Obama Control of Economy During 'National Emergencies' Tomorrow, the House will consider HR 4809, legislation reauthorizing the Defense Production Act. The Defense Production Act is a cold-war era law that gives the President dictatorial control over the economy in times of war or  “national emergencies.”

28 July 2014read on...

New Post
The US Senate Appropriations Defense Subcommittee just approved the transfer of $351 million to Israel for the Iron Dome missile defense system — that will bring the appropriations this week for Israel to $621 million. There has been virtually no debate about such huge payments to another nation’s defense budget when cities and schools continue to cut back on programs for lack of fund.

18 July 2014read on...

House Procedure in Action: Pro-Drug War Amendment OK, Pro-Gun Rights Amendment Prohibited US House of Representatives rules were strictly enforced Tuesday to prevent a full House vote on a pro-gun rights amendment offered by Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) despite the earlier incorporation into the bill of a pro-drug war amendment that would also appear to be barred by a strict application of the procedural rule.

17 July 2014read on...

Resolution Requiring US Military Withdrawal from Iraq on the Fast Track to US House Vote
A resolution requiring the removal from Iraq of all US military troops who are not protecting diplomatic facilities and personnel that was introduced Friday in the US House of Representatives by Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA) is on the fast track to a debate and vote in the House.

14 July 2014read on...

House to Vote on 'Expedited and Dignified' TSA Screenings for Some People, Sometimes
The US House of Representatives is scheduled to consider on Tuesday the Honor Flight Act (HR 4812) that would require the Transportation Security Administration to work with a non-profit organization to establish a process for providing “expedited and dignified passenger screening services for veterans” who are traveling with the aid of certain non-profit organizations to visit certain war memorials.

6 July 2014read on...

Rep. Thomas Massie: 'Declassify 9/11 Report to Prevent the Next 9/11'
In a new discussion at the YouTube channel of Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC), Jones, an RPI Advisory Board member, discusses with Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) the effort to declassify 28 pages of a joint House of Representatives and Senate Intelligence Committees report. The redacted pages include information concerning foreign governments’ involvement in the September 11, 2001 attacks in America. Jones and Massie both state that the information in those 28 pages is important for informing decisions regarding the Middle East and potential US government actions in Iraq, as well as for preventing another attack in America similar to the September 11 attacks.

1 July 2014read on...

US House Rejects by 355 to 62 Vote Amendment to Limit Transfer of Military Weapons and Equipment to Local Police
By a vote of 355 “no” votes to 62 “yes” votes the United States House of Representatives voted down Thursday night an amendment offered by Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) to the Department of Defense Appropriations Act (HR 4870) that would have curtailed the transfer of US military equipment to local police.



20 June 2014read on...

Rep. John Duncan: 'Stop Trying to Take Care of the Whole World and Start Taking Care of Our Own Country'
Rep. John J. Duncan, Jr. (R-TN) brought one minute of hard-hitting reality to the United States House of Representatives on May 30, remarking that the United States government, with its over $17 trillion debt, is only escaping — for now — Detroit-style bankruptcy by printing money. The representative explains that, unless the US government becomes more fiscally responsible, the US will fail to satisfy fully obligations such as military pension and social security payments. Duncan, an RPI Advisory Board member concludes his speech by suggesting the US government “stop trying to take care of the whole world and start taking care of our own country and putting the American people first once again.”

12 June 2014read on...

US House Votes to Respect States’ Medical Marijuana and Hemp Legalization
An appropriations bill passed Friday in the United States House of Representatives and on its way to the US Senate contains provisions calling for the United States government to stop treading on states’ efforts to legalize medical marijuana and industrial hemp.

31 May 2014read on...

Sen. Ron Wyden: House-Passed USA FREEDOM Act is 'Reform in Name Only'
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), speaking Wednesday in his home state of Oregon, declared that the “Status Quo Caucus” including “intelligence leadership, their friends in the House of Representatives, [and] their allies in academia” had successfully transformed the USA FREEDOM Act (HR 3361) into “reform in name only” by the time it was debated and approved on the United States House of Representatives floor.

29 May 2014read on...

Congress Alert

Defense Appropriations Delayed -- Rebellion in the Works?


Faced with an unexpected groundswell of opposition to its highly unusual move to limit debate on the Defense Appropriations bill, as well as fears over a Floor fight on such contentious issues as the coup in Egypt, arming the Syrian rebels, and NSA spying, House leadership has made it clear that the bill is on hold until at least next week.

House leadership hoped to limit discussion of and potential votes on issues it considered too hot to handle by offering up a very unusual modified closed rule to govern the debate on the Floor of the Defense Appropriations legislation this week. As RPI reported earlier this week, appropriations bills are customarily debated under an open "five minute rule," whereby Members have the opportunity to offer up any amendment that does not violate Rule XXI, i.e. that does not seek to use legislative language to alter the underlying appropriations bill. What this means is that Members can move to strike funding for any program or policy or whatever they wish in the appropriations bill. Defunding a particular part of the legislation is in effect killing it, which of course does have policy implications. The amendment process in the appropriations bills is a key way that Members can make their concerns heard over the direction of the spending.

RPI has learned that several GOP Members had threatened House leadership with a vote against the rule if amendments on Syria, Egypt, and NSA spying were summarily rejected. Typically, rule votes proceed according to party lines, and breaking with one's party is a sign of open revolt usually over the process.

Late today, Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) announced bipartisan amendments to the Defense Appropriations bill that would forbid the president from using any of the appropriated funds to support military or paramilitary actions in Egypt and Syria without Congressional approval. Massie's efforts reflect a growing Congressional restiveness over the president's unilateral announcement that the US would begin providing weapons to the Syrian rebels, which Massie describes as carrying the risk of "giving money and military assistance to our enemies."

Fellow Republican Justin Amash (R-MI) underscored Massie's concerns over the president's moves, stating that “Congress has not authorized force against Syria or Egypt, which the Constitution requires before military action. Once again, the administration is considering unilaterally intervening in foreign wars that the American people want nothing to do with.”

Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-OR) joined his colleagues in these amendments.

It remains to be seen how House leadership intends to handle an opposition to its DoD Appropriations gag rule that only seems to be picking up steam. Stay tuned until next week and keep an eye on RPI's Congress Alert!


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