Saturday, December 10, 2016

Senate

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Border Patrol

Americans are on the verge of learning if their new Republican-majority Congress will decide to renege on its constitutional obligation by choosing President Obama’s lawless amnesty over national security.

It’s a contentious issue involving funding for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). In mid -January, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a $40 billion DHS spending bill with amendments that ban all illegal activities associated with Obama’s executive actions on immigration, which are set to spare millions of illegal aliens from deportation. The appropriations measure passed clean, with no taxpayer money for illegal activities.

Now it sits before the Senate and the big question is will our elected officials fund DHS by passing the House bill prohibiting money to pay for the president’s amnesty measures? Or will the Senate block the measure from becoming law, essentially sending the message that amnesty for undocumented aliens takes priority over national security? Republicans have 54 seats in the Senate and the bill needs 60 votes to pass with the crucial anti-amnesty amendments attached. Obama has threatened to veto the measure if it doesn’t include cash for his unlawful amnesty provisions.

It appears that the bill won’t even get to the president’s desk, however. Senate Democrats have threatened to block the measure if it excludes funding for the various illegal immigrant programs. In fact, in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Democrats say that the clean “House bill cannot pass the Senate.” They mention the recent terrorist attacks in Paris, Ottawa and Australia as well as the threat of ISIS to make a case for the critical DHS funding. “We know that you share our desire to keep our nation safe in these dangerous times, and we thank you for considering our request,” the letter ends.

This is classic political theater that, unfortunately, has become all too common in our government. No wonder Congress’s approval ratings are at an all-time low. Americans are disgusted with their elected officials—both Democrat and Republican—in Washington D.C. In this case, McConnell, who has previously served as Senate Republican leader four times, initially vowed to stop Obama’s outrageous executive amnesty initiatives. But recently he began backpedaling from the defunding strategy, according to a national organization dedicated to examining immigration trends and effects.

It certainly appears that Republicans aren’t pushing hard enough to pass the House version of the DHS funding bill. Just today McConnell delivered a softball speech on the Senate floor, calling on Democrats to join Republicans and “stand up for core democratic principles like the rule of law and separation of powers.” A few days earlier Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions brought awareness to a broader issue by asking “who does Congress work for?” The veteran lawmaker points out that the House-approved version before the Senate “fully funds every activity, program, and function of DHS that is authorized by law.” Only actions that fall outside the scope of the law are not funded.

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John Boehner

Just weeks after winning sweeping victories in the 2014 elections that saw angry voters turn over control of the Senate to Republicans House Speaker John Boehner has decided to strike a sweeping bargain with lame duck Democrats over a huge omnibus-spending bill to fund government operations through September 2015 – the end of the current fiscal year.

The question is why.

Why would Speaker Boehner rush a 1,603-page $1.1 trillion spending bill through Congress now rather than wait for conservative Republicans elected on November 4 take over control of the Senate after the New Year – now just weeks away?

Speculation is that current House leaders – loyal to and controlled by the Republican establishment – want to cut a “moderate” spending deal with Senate Majority Harry Reid in time to head off the new and largely conservative class of Senators set to take over control of the chamber on January 2.

House conservatives have complained bitterly that voters soundly rejected “pass it before you can read it” government adding that the bill will deprive new Congress conservatives with the political leverage they will need to pry concessions from the Obama Administration on everything from defunding ObamaCare and out-of-control regulation to legislation repealing executive “amnesty” for illegal aliens.

The legislation will also “kick the can down the road” on government debt – now exceeding $18 trillion – by raising the debt limit to make way for more deficit spending while heading off any government shutdowns until at least late 2015.

The “compromise spending bill” will fully fund virtually all federal government activities through the end of the fiscal year next September except the Department of Homeland Security.

This includes full funding for ObamaCare… full funding for top down federal control over education… and full funding of “executive overreach” initiatives like amnesty, lack of government transparency and the selective enforcement of federal laws by Justice Department.

Apparently, conservatives should be content with modest cuts in the Internal Revenue Service and Environmental Protection Agency budgets with no concessions “greenhouse gas” emission standards based on the flawed science of “climate change”.

When reached for comment, the press spokesman for Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) said Sen. Lee is deeply disappointed that the process for the spending bill saying that it was set up to push Congress into a vote before the bill could be read by members – exactly the kind of legislative maneuvering that voters rejected on Election Day. Senator’s Ted Cruz and Rand Paul could not be reached by press time.

Please check back for updates.

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