The House Of Representatives Leadership Does Not Represent Me

Freedomworks posted an article today illustrating how Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives are trying to silence conservative voices. It is time we had new leadership in both the U.S. House and the U.S. Senate. The people currently serving represent themselves and not the rest of us.

The article reports:

Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) is at it again.

He is using a House procedure to try and pass major legislation in a way that minimizes debate and prevents conservative amendments from being introduced and debated. Last month the majority leader did this to authorize $1 billion in taxpayer dollars for a global food security bill. FreedomWorks drew attention to the bill on our blog.

Today, Majority Leader McCarthy has scheduled H.R. 5077, the Intelligence Authorization Act for fiscal year 2017, for a vote in the House under the same expedited procedure, called suspension of the rules. This procedure is customarily reserved for non-controversial legislation. This bill is anything but non-controversial. It is scheduled for only 40 minutes of debate, as opposed to an hour of debate, which is the norm for bills considered under a rule. Amendments cannot be offered, and the bill can be voice-voted, allowing members to avoid being put on the record with a recorded vote.

H.R. 5077 proposes to spend $521 million of taxpayer and borrowed money over a 5-year period. That is just on the unclassified portion of the legislation. According to the committee report on the bill, the goal of the bill is to “authorize the intelligence and intelligence-related activities of the United States Government for fiscal year 2017. These activities enhance the national security of the United States, support and assist the armed forces of the United States, and support the President in the execution of the foreign policy of the United States.” Majority Leader McCarthy shouldn’t bring up such an important bill in a manner that prevents conservative and liberty movement amendments.

The article points out that there needs to be an opportunity for Representatives to make amendments that will protect the U.S. Constitution, as many of the entities funded in this bill have overstepped their boundaries in the past. It is quite possible that if the bill were allowed to be amended, it might be improved. Unfortunately, that may be exactly what Leader McCarthy wants to avoid.

The article concludes:

The majority leader should be running the floor in a way that allows significant bills to be fully debated with opportunities for members of the House to work their will through an amendment process. The intelligence bill should have come up as a regular rule bill, not under an expedited procedure that keeps member input to a minimum. The House, members, and the intelligence bill deserve better.

It is time for a change of leadership in Congress. We need Congressmen who will represent the interests of the American people–not people who represent only their own interests.

The Argument For Keeping Guantanamo Open

Tim Scott, a South Carolina Senator, posted an article at the National Review on Wednesday. In the article he reminds us that President Obama recently vetoed the National Defense Authorization Act because it blocked the transfer of terrorists from Guantanamo to American soil. Senator Scott recently visited Guantanamo and feels that it is the best place on earth to keep terrorists. I would like to add that generally countries don’t release prisoners of war (which terrorists are not, but that is the closest I could come) until the war is over. I don’t think the war on terrorism is over.

Senator Scott points out:

The propaganda war: Opponents of keeping the detention facilities open at Guantanamo believe that by closing it, we can stop terrorist groups from using it as a recruiting tool. This requires you to also believe that any new facility built would not be held up as a recruiting tool. And if you believe that, I have a nice, new bridge to sell you. Here’s what is actually occurring at Guantanamo: 250 assaults on our guards in the past year and a half . . . and absolutely zero retaliations. Our troops are highly disciplined and dedicated to serving our nation, and this proves it. This number is rarely reported on, but it tells you more about what is happening at Guantanamo Bay than anything else.

The Senator also reminds us that compliant detainees have portable DVD players, headphones, satellite TV and PlayStations. Well-behaved prisoners can be out of their cells for 22 hours a day.

The Obama Administration claims that keeping prisoners at Guantanamo is more expensive than it would be to keep them on American soil. The Administration cites a cost of $2.4 million per prisoner per year. Well, not so fast. This supposed cost includes the salaries of the troops guarding the terrorists. These troops will still exist–they will simply be sent elsewhere. The savings are greatly exaggerated. There is also the rather important fact that about 30 percent of the prisoners released have gone back to terrorism. Not a pleasant thought.

There are a number of American facilities that the President feels could accommodate the prisoners, including Fort Leavenworth in Kansas, the Naval brig outside Charleston, S.C., and the supermax facility in Colorado. However, does anyone actually believe that if these prisoners were moved to these locations, terrorists in America would not find a way to get them out? Terrorists have attacked elementary schools, held hostages in order to make prisoner exchanges, blown up things, and generally threatened civilian populations on a regular basis. Why would anyone think they would not do this to free their comrades?

Closing Guantanamo has always been a bad idea. It will continue to be so until the world is free of terrorism. Unfortunately, I am not expecting that to happen in the near future.

 

Padding the National Defense Authorization Bill

Yesterday Breitbart.com reported that the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) includes some provisions that have nothing to do with defense.

The article reports:

According to Cruz (Senator Ted Cruz), the “extraneous” land grab provisions in the NDAA include:   

250,000 acres of new wilderness designations 400,000 acres withdrawn from productive use (for energy, mining, timber, etc.) 

Fifteen new national park units or park expansions 

Eight new studies for national parks 

Three new wild and scenic river designations

3 new studies for additional designations 

Study to begin the National Women’s History Museum 

The federal government already owns an estimated 640 million acres of land, more than one-third of the entire country.  

Breitbart News reported that the text of the NDAA compromise reached by a bipartisan group of lawmakers from both chambers included a slew of unrelated public lands measures. The NDAA is considered must-pass legislation.   

Again, we are left wondering who Congress actually represents–I don’t think it is the American people.

The article further reports:

The NDAA agreement includes close to 100 natural resources provisions from across the nation, including eight Nevada public land provisions that have been priorities for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and his Republican counterpart Dean Heller.  

In a statement celebrating the attachment of the public lands provisions to the NDAA, Sen. Heller, a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, acknowledges that he “worked behind the scenes for months to attach these Nevada priorities, spurring economic development and enhancing national security, to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).”  

“This is great news for the entire state of Nevada. I’ve worked tirelessly from my first days in the House of Representatives to take the lead and ensure these lands bills were top priorities. I’ve been committed from the very beginning and am glad to see the fruits of this labor,” he states. “I’m grateful my colleagues from the delegation, specifically Senator Reid and Congressman [Mark] Amodei [R-Nev.], collaborated in making these bills important action items this Congress.”  

“It was not an easy lift but the needs of Nevada were addressed, and I’m happy to achieve this goal,” he adds. “As this legislation becomes law, it will not only spur economic development in our state but enhance national security as well. Those are things we should all be proud to accomplish.”  

This NDAA is a bad bill–it cuts military benefits of active duty military and it includes a land grab that needs to be discussed on its own–not added to something unrelated. I understand that it would be inconvenient for the bill not to pass, but I hope there are enough people in the Senate who are paying attention and will say ‘no.’

Quietly Placed Inside The National Defense Authorization Act…

On Tuesday, the Daily Caller reported that an amendment has been added to the National Defense Authorization Act that would introduce sales tax to items purchased on the internet. The Computer and Communications Industry Association opposes this move.

The article reports:

“This proposal, and other online sales tax collection proposals like it, would allow states to penalize the innovative e-commerce business model by targeting small online businesses as convenient sources (and collectors) of revenue,” said CCIA President and CEO Ed Black.

The Marketplace Fairness Act, and its House counterpart the Marketplace Equity Act, seek to clarify, and arguably overturn, a 1992 Supreme Court ruling that requires retailers to have a physical presence in a state in order to collect sales tax on goods.

Is there any length Congress will not go to in order to take money away from the people who earn it?

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Under The Radar Cuts That Directly Impact Military Families

Military.com is reporting:

The rules for Hostile Fire and Imminent Danger Pay have changed. Service members will now  receive imminent danger pay only for days they actually spend in hazardous areas. This change went in effect on February 1, 2012.

A member of a uniformed service may be entitled to Hostile Fire and Imminent Danger pay at the rate of $225 for any month in which he/she was entitled to basic pay and in which he/she was:

Subject to hostile fire or explosion of hostile mines;

On duty in an area in which he was in imminent danger of being exposed to hostile fire or explosion of hostile mines and in which, during the period he was on duty in that area, other members of the uniformed services were subject to hostile fire or explosion of hostile mines;

Killed, injured, or wounded by hostile fire, explosion of a hostile mine, or any other hostile action; or

On duty in a foreign area in which he was subject to the threat of physical harm or imminent danger on the basis of civil insurrection, civil war, terrorism, or wartime conditions.

This is simply petty. Again, the Obama Administration is only cutting the budget in areas that impact the Defense Department and our military.

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There Seems To Be A Slight Difference Of Opinion On This

The Washington Times reported yesterday that the Senate voted Tuesday to give the U.S. military first crack at holding al Qaeda operatives, even if they are captured in the U.S. and are American citizens, and also reaffirmed the policy of indefinite detention.

A website called Democracy.now reports:

A provision in the National Defense Authorization Act would authorize the military to jail anyone it considers a terrorism suspect — anywhere in the world — without charge or trial. The measure would effectively extend the definition of what is considered the military’s “battlefield” to anywhere in the world, even within the United States.

This is the link to the actual text of the bill at Thomas.gov. What the bill does, contrary to the panic expressed in Democracy.now, is allow the military to deal with terrorists in military courts rather than civilian courts. Terrorists have no right to be tried in American criminal courts with all the benefits of American citizens, regardless of where they are captured–they are not criminals, they are terrorists.

If you think this is a new thing, please review the case of the Nazi saboteurs who came ashore on Long Island in 1942 (at fbi.gov). Like it or not, we are at war. We have been at war since 1979, when Iran and its radical Muslim leaders declared war on us. We ignore the fact that we are at war at our own peril.

Please note that the vote of this bill was bipartisan. The article at the Washington Times reports: 

Tuesday’s 61-37 vote to buck Mr. Obama and grant the military dibs exposed a deep rift within the Democratic Party. Sixteen Democrats and one independent who caucuses with them defied the veto threat and joined 44 Republicans.

This bill protects the safety of Americans. If you doubt that, please follow the link to Thomas.gov and read the bill or the summary.

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