Some Good News From The Senate

On Friday, The Washington Free Beacon reported that the Senate passed an amendment on Thursday renewing and codifying a Congressional ban on earmarking bills.

The article quotes Senator Ben Sasse who led the initiative to ban earmarks:

“The last thing taxpayers need is for the same politicians who racked up a $22 trillion national debt to go on an earmark binge,” Sasse said in a statement. “It’s pretty simple: Earmarks are a crummy way to govern and they have no business in Congress. Backroom deals, kickbacks, and earmarks feed a culture of constant incumbency and that’s poisonous to healthy self-government. This is an important fight and I’m glad that my Republican colleagues agreed with my rules change to make the earmark ban permanent.”

Earmarks have been banned before, but somehow keep cropping up again. In 2011 the Senate passed a temporary ban on earmarks. In 2017, the Senate voted to keep the ban in place. However, in the past, the ban has not necessarily accomplished much.

The article reports:

The Senate voted in 2017 to keep the ban in place, with a push led by former Sen. Jeff Flake (R., Ariz.). Flake launched an investigation in 2015 which found that, despite the 2011 ban, many earmarks had slipped through, with hundreds of millions spent on side projects, such as grape research and subsidies for a ballet theater in the wealthiest congressional district in America.

Similarly, a Citizens Against Government Waste report found that Congress had approved $5.1 billion in earmarks in 2016. In 2016, House Republicans attempted to undo earmark bans, but the Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) rebuffed the effort, saying that it would inappropriate right after a “drain the swamp” election.

Earmarks are a tool to get bills passed that might not otherwise be passed. If a Senator is promised a new highway for his state in exchange for his vote, he might vote for whatever is being considered. However, earmarks make it possible to pass bills that are wasteful and would not otherwise pass. Banning earmarks is a really good idea.

What Does This Say About Our Values?

I am strongly pro-life. I believe that the only time an abortion should be performed is when the pregnancy presents a physical threat to the mother. Those instances are rare and could easily be dealt with in a hospital. Those instances would also not result in a multi-million-dollar abortion industry.

Yesterday The Washington Examiner reported that the Democrats had blocked a vote on a bill called the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act (S.311). Because of Senate rules, a bill needs 60 votes in order to be brought to the floor to be voted on (that is based on the idea of a filibuster except people no longer stand up and talk for hours). Republican Ben Sasse wanted a vote on S.311, but there were only 53 Senators in favor of voting for the measure (translated loosely that means that there were only 53 Senators willing to go on the record on treating infants who survive abortions). The bill was not perfect. There were some things I would have been very uncomfortable with–I don’t like the idea of doctors being sued or arrested for actions taken in the operating room. However, it seems strange to me that people would be more likely to help a puppy found on the side of the road than a baby who survived and abortion attempt. Most Republicans voted for a vote on the bill. A few Democrats voted for a vote.

In view of recent statements by the Governor of Virginia and the Governor of New York on abortion, some form of this bill is probably necessary. I hope we will see some form of the bill pass in the future. However, it is a sad commentary on our society that a stranded puppy would be more likely to receive care than an aborted baby.

It’s Getting So Ridiculous It’s Funny

The Daily Caller today is reporting that protesters at the Supreme Court were prepared to protest whoever President Trump nominated for the Supreme Court. One of the interesting traits of all of these ‘spontaneous’ protests the left engages in is that the majority of the signs are professionally printed. Well, what do you do when you don’t have enough information to preprint the signs? You improvise!

The article illustrates:

The article further points out:

“Went to the Supreme Court to talk to the protesters. But it turns out to be a Mad-Lib protest. #Fill-In-The-Blank,” the senator  ((Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse)) tweeted with a picture reading, “Stop Gorsuch.” The sign, however, only had the word “Stop” printed on it, with “Gorsuch” added after his name was announced in marker.

Sasse then tweeted, “By the way, protestors- Among those who were in the Senate when Gorsuch was last unanimously confirmed: *Obama *Biden *Clinton & *Schumer.”

We’re going to need more popcorn.