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Rep. John Duncan’s Plea for US Non-Intervention in Ukraine
Rep. John J. Duncan, Jr. (R-TN) on March 13 presented on the floor of the United States House of Representatives a brief and insightful plea against the US government “sending billions” of dollars to Ukraine and escalating US intervention to cause “some type of military confrontation.”



7 April 2014read on...

Rep. Thomas Massie Bills Would Legalize Raw Milk Sales
Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY), who introduced legislation last year to eliminate the US government’s ban on growing hemp in accordance with state laws, last week introduced two bills that would remove US government restrictions on the sale of raw milk and raw milk products. The two new bills are the Milk Freedom Act (HR 4307) and the Interstate Milk Freedom Act (HR 4308).



3 April 2014read on...

Eric Cantor Evokes George Washington and Founders to Promote His War Agenda
Apparently trying to one-up President Barack Obama, who last month twisted American history and logic to equate US government mass spying with Paul Revere and other revolutionaries’ actions to protect Americans from an oppressive government, House of Representatives Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) is claiming President George Washington and the American founders would support Cantor’s world-wide interventionist agenda.

19 February 2014read on...

Congress Votes to Bring Ukraine to Heel
Not to be outdone by the hyper-interventionist State Department of John Kerry, Victoria Nuland, and US Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt, the US House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly yesterday to jump head first into the Ukraine crisis.

11 February 2014read on...

Sanity Emerges: US to Legalize Some Hemp Growing
Researchers in several states soon should be able to legally grow hemp for the first time in decades because of legislation approved today in the US Senate.

4 February 2014read on...

Sen. Wyden Slams Intelligence Officials Over 'Culture of Misinformation'
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), in a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing today, presents succinctly and forcefully the case that senior officials overseeing the US government’s mass spying program have relied on “secret interpretations of the law” and “years of misleading and deceptive statements…to the American people.” Wyden proceeds to question witnesses James R. Clapper, John O. Brennan, and James B. Comey, Jr.  the directors, respectively, of National Intelligence, the Central Intelligence Agency, and Federal Bureau of Investigation regarding the mass spying and the “culture of misinformation” surrounding it.

29 January 2014read on...

McCain and Graham Go To Work Against Iran Agreement
Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) continue to pull out all stops in attempt to scuttle the six-month interim agreement between the P5+1 and Iran. The agreement is meant to provide some space for negotiations to continue between the two sides while allowing for some confidence to be built in place of a decades-long hostile relationship.

14 January 2014read on...

Eric Cantor Girds His Iran War Loins
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) is leading the counter-attack against the Administration's opening door to a peaceful agreement with Iran. His strategy to scuttle any permanent rapprochement with Iran on behalf of his neocon and Israel/Saudi lobby benefactors is transparent: treat the initial six-month confidence-building measure -- a voluntary cessation of uranium enrichment above five percent in exchange for limited sanctions relief -- as if it were a Chapter VII UN Security Council Resolution.

3 January 2014read on...

Sen. Bernie Sanders Exposes Bloated Military and Intelligence Spending
Sen. Bernie Sanders, in a US Senate floor speech Thursday explaining his “no” vote on the National Defense Authorization Act (HR 3304), exposes “wasteful, inefficient, and often fraudulent” Department of Defense spending. Sanders also addresses the bloated nature of US military spending compared to military spending by other governments as well as the tens of billions of dollars sucked yearly into US intelligence agencies’ “black budget.”

21 December 2013read on...

Rep. Jim McGovern: 'It is Time to Get Out of Afghanistan'
Speaking on the United States House of Representatives floor Thursday, Rep. Jim McGovern delivered a comprehensive speech urging Congress to stop wasting $80 billion a year and Americans’ lives in US military action in Afghanistan. “It is time to get out of Afghanistan,” McGovern concluded.

14 December 2013read 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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