Congress update

The U.S. House and Senate will not be voting on legislation until mid-September, but committees in both chambers are holding hearings and drafting legislation.

Their major focus is drafting the “human infrastructure” spending bill. The bill is supposed to be ready for floor action by September 15, but before the bill can be written, much less voted on, the major differences between the House and Senate, as well as between progressives and “moderate” Democrats in both chambers, must be resolved.

As Campaign for Liberty Chairman Ron Paul has pointed out, the difference between moderates and progressives is over the price tag of the bill. The moderates are perfectly happy to vote for expanding government control of the economy, expanding government intrusion in health care, and making a down payment on the “Green New Deal,” as long as progressives shave a billion or two off the package’s estimated $3.5 trillion price tag.

Other activity on the Hill included the House Armed Services Committee marking up the Fiscal Year 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

The bill in the House currently increase “defense” spending by $37 billion over last year’s levels.

The Senate Armed Services Committee also increased the defense budget by $25 billion, making it likely that the final NDAA will contain a substantial increase in funding over Biden’s request.

The committee also adopted several amendments including requiring reports on how the military plans to evacuate Americans remaining in Afghanistan, the reasoning for abandoning Bagram Air Base, and the establishment of a 12-member commission to examine the lessons learned from the 20-year war.

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) joined Democrats in voting to require women to register for the Selective Service, meaning if Congress ever reinstates the draft, it will apply to both men and women.

The Senate Armed Services Committee already added a provision requiring women to register for Selective Service, so it is almost certain to be included in the final version of the NDAA.

You can read Ron Paul’s thoughts on why it is wrong to draft anyone here.

Finally, the committee adopted an amendment giving the military the ability to monitor and discharge troops found to be supporting so-called “extremist” causes. The amendment does not define “extremism,” so it could be used to discharge military personal supporting Campaign for Liberty’s efforts to end the surveillance state, bring the troops home, cut spending, and Audit (then End) the Fed.


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