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Congress Tag

Yesterday, I wrote about today's Senate vote expected to override Obama's veto and today they voted overwhelmingly to do just that. Fox News reports:
The Senate voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to overturn President Obama’s veto of a bill letting families of Sept. 11 victims sue the Saudi Arabian government, bringing Congress within reach of completing the first successful veto override of Obama’s presidency. The Senate voted 97-1 to reject the veto. The measure heads next to the House, where lawmakers will need to muster a two-thirds majority, as in the Senate, to override.

As Mary noted earlier this month, Obama's veto of the bill to allow 9/11 families to sue Saudi Arabia for its involvement is likely to be overridden by Congress.  The votes will occur this week:  in the Senate on Wednesday and in the House on Friday. ABC News reports:
For the first time in President Obama’s tenure, the Senate is set to override his veto of a bill that would allow the families of 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia in U.S. courts. The president vetoed the bill Friday, citing concerns that it could open the U.S. government to similar lawsuits.

It's that time of year when Congress will fight over a short-term funding bill to avoid a government shutdown. We all know what will happen. They'll talk tough and then pass something at the last minute and go their merry ways. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has faced criticism from Democrats and members of his own party for the Senate's version of the bill. Some of his fellow GOP members believe the version "doesn't include conservative policy proposals." House conservatives want to do what they can to extend this stopgap bill into January so Congress isn't rushed to pass a full spending bill before Christmas.

You may recall the House Democrats' big gun control sit-in back in June. They've now moved on to phase two of their gun control campaign, demanding a vote. NBC News reports:
House Democrats Renew Push for Gun Control Votes House Democrats made a renewed push for votes on gun control measures on Wednesday — nearly three months after they staged a sit-in on that chamber's floor demanding action.

Mylan came under fire after it recently hiked the price of their EpiPen, a life saving allergy shot. They have now decided to offer the medicine at a discount price for some patients. In a statement, the company said it will use a savings card "which will cover up to $300" for the medicine. Mylen claims that those who "were previously paying the full amount of the company's list price for EpiPen®, this effectively reduces their out-of-pocket cost exposure by 50%."

I've been keeping an eye on the tough Congress elections headed into November, especially since the GOP could easily loses its majority in the Senate. North Carolina could lose one of its GOP senators while New Hampshire could lose its only GOP senator in Kelly Ayotte. The tough reelection has led her to distance herself from GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump. Ayotte said she would vote for Trump, but stopped before giving him her full endorsement. This has frustrated the independent voters she needs to win. She didn't even attend a rally attended by Vice President candidate Mike Pence where he told the crowd they need her "back in the U.S. Senate." As The Washington Post described it, she "is stuck between Donald Trump and a hard place."

The rise of Donald Trump has divided the GOP more than ever, leading many to worry if the party could maintain their majority in Congress whether he wins or loses the presidency. The Democrats have noticed and now Politico reports that Hillary Clinton plans to raise $1 billion to defeat the vulnerable GOP members of Congress:
The new concern inside the highest levels of Republican politics is that Hillary Clinton will raise $1 billion for Democrats and the party will train some of their efforts -- and that money -- on defeating House and Senate Republicans. Party leaders privately concede that the Senate could be lost either way. But senior House Republicans say they’re in good shape across the country, and see no evidence that the control of the chamber is in play.

Sanctuary cities have long been a problem, but the heightened public awareness in the wake of  high profile murders like that of Kate Steinle has prompted Congress to take action (finally).  To that end, Congress has conditioned DOJ grants on compliance with federal immigration law.  For California, this move puts at risk as much as $135 million in federal grants. Fox News reports:
California state and local law enforcement agencies may have to choose between more than $100 million in federal aid and the “sanctuary city” immigration policies that supporters say are humane, but critics say fuel crime. The policies, whether in writing or just in practice, preclude local law enforcement from working with federal authorities when they catch an illegal immigrant who by law faces deportation. The laws have sparked a national controversy in the wake of dozens of murders and other violent crimes committed by illegal immigrants who local law enforcement did not report to the Department of Homeland Security.

Sens. Cory Gardner (R-CO) and John Cornyn (R-TX) have presented a bill to strip Hillary Clinton and her aides of their security clearances after the FBI recommended she not face prosecution over her emails. Gardner said:
“The FBI’s investigation into Secretary Clinton’s personal email server confirmed what Americans across the country already know: Secretary Clinton recklessly accessed classified information on an insecure system–establishing a vulnerable and highly desirable target for foreign hackers,” Gardner said. “If the FBI won’t recommend action based on its findings, Congress will. At the very least, Secretary Clinton should not have access to classified information, and our bill makes sure of it.”

This story is a perfect example of why everyone hates Congress. The senate tried to pass a bill funding research and prevention of the Zika Virus. Democrats blocked it and fully intend to blame the GOP for any spread of the virus. Politico reports:
Democrats block Zika funding bill, blame GOP Congress is poised for an epic failure in its efforts to combat Zika before lawmakers leave Washington for a seven-week vacation — and it could come back to bite Republicans at the ballot box if there’s an outbreak of the mosquito-borne virus in the United States this summer.

While Democratic members of Congress built a pillow fort on the floor of the House to oppose gun rights, the Republicans continued their work on behalf of the American people.
At about 1 am on Thursday, while drowned out by cries of "Shame! Shame! Shame!" from Democrats and partially blocked from C-SPAN’s cameras by protest signs, Ryan held some procedural votes on when the House would reconvene to vote on emergency funding to address the Zika virus. The votes were held at 2:30 am, and the Zika bill passed.
The need for a robust response to Zika is becoming more evident each day, as reports of more outbreaks in this country continue to mount.

The Democratic Party is apparently taking cues from progressive campus protesters now. In a move reminiscent of a safe space at Mizzou, congressional proponents of gun control staged a sit-in on the House floor yesterday. The irony is that these aging, 1960's obsessed hipsters disguised as elected officials were actually protesting civil rights. Mollie Hemingway of The Federalist explains:
Democrats Shut Down Congress With Anti-Civil Rights Sit-In. Good! Democratic members of Congress on Wednesday staged a sit-in on the floor of the House to oppose gun rights.

Last week, Louisiana passed a resolution calling for a Convention of States as described in Article V of the U.S. Constitution. The resolution passed on May 25 with a vote of 62-36, making Louisiana the eighth state to call for a meeting of the states for the purpose of proposing constitutional amendments addressing abuses by the U.S. Federal Government. Other states that have called a Convention of States for the same purposes are Florida, Georgia, Alaska, Alabama, Tennessee, Indiana, and Oklahoma. Increased national interest in a Convention of States (COS) is due largely to the government's failure to operate as the Framers envisioned. Having accrued a national debt of over $19 trillion and a debt-to-GDP ratio of 105%, the government's size and scope has grown far beyond anything the Founders could have imagined. Meanwhile, the states, having created the Federal Government, find themselves acting at the mercy of Washington's limitless regulations and outstretched tentacles, lest they lose federal sacred funding.

Last July, we responded to President Barack Obama's challenge to read the nuclear deal he made with Iran and concluded that it was awful. One of the worst parts of the deal was language (appearing twice) that said, "Iran has stated that if sanctions are reinstated in whole or in part, Iran will treat that as grounds to cease performing its commitments under this JCPOA in whole or in part." Or in the words of Mark Dubowitz, executive director of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, this is Iran's "nuclear snapback."

[UPDATE 1/6/2016: The answer to the question is yes, the bill will get to Obama's desk. The measure passed.] Remember that slogan, "repeal and replace"? There have actually been quite a few bills passed in the House to repeal Obamacare during the last couple of years, whether you've noticed them or not. Here's an article about it from this past October:
House Republicans pushed forward with another vote to roll back the Affordable Care Act on Friday, passing a bill that would repeal several major pillars of President Obama’s landmark 2010 law, including the requirement that Americans have health coverage. The legislation, the latest of more than 50 bills by congressional Republicans to repeal all or part of the health law, would also halt federal funding for Planned Parenthood. The 240-189 vote will not change anything in the health law or Planned Parenthood, however, as Obama has indicated he would veto the bill if it ever reaches his desk.

After Congressman Paul Ryan became Speaker of the House, we remarked that he "may surprise us." I must admit, the surprises have exceeded my skepticism, especially after the House defied a veto threat by the President and overwhelmingly passed legislation to suspend Obama's program to admit 10,000 Syrian refugees in the next year. And Ryan shed not one tear doing so, either. It appears that this newly found political courage is infectious. The Senate is now making a move to defund some climate change inanity, to the tune of $3 billion dollars.
Republicans are taking aim at a new “Green Climate Fund,” as they look to weaken President Obama’s hand in global climate talks later this month. The pot of money, a $3 billion climate change pledge the president’s administration made last year, is something officials hope to bring to the negotiating table at United Nations summit in Paris.

Yesterday on Meet the Press, Chuck Todd outlined the huge losses the Democratic Party has suffered under Obama's tenure. He even spoke to a Politico reporter who called the Obama machine a lie. David Rutz of the Washington Free Beacon:
Meet The Press host Chuck Todd and his Sunday panelists outlined the Democratic Party’s heavy losses under the Obama administration, with panelist Marc Caputo saying the idea of the “Obama political machine” was a “lie” that couldn’t win without him on a ballot. Under Obama, Democrats have lost 13 Senate seats and 69 House seats in Congress, and the results are even more staggering on a local level. Democrats have lost 12 governorships, including Kentucky last week with the election of Matt Bevin, 30 state legislative chambers and more than 900 state legislative seats. That’s the worst showing for an incumbent president’s party since the Richard Nixon years, due to the taint of Watergate...
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