This Week in Congress

The U.S.  Senate will spend the bulk of the week on  S. 2155, legislation making changes to the Dodd-Frank financial reform act. Senator Rand Paul is trying to add the Audit the Fed legislation to the bill, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell may block Senator Paul’s amendment or allow the Fed’s Senate allies to filibuster it.

Campaign for Liberty members should call Senator McConnell at 202-224-2541 and tell him to let the Senate vote on Senator Paul’s amendment attaching Audit the Fed to S. 2155 and make sure the amendment only requires 51 votes to pass.

For more on S. 2155 see here.

The Senate was supposed to consider gun control legislation, but then lack of a conscience is delaying consideration. Campaign for Liberty members should sign the Defend the Second Amendment Directive to your Senators and Representative.

The Senate also delayed consideration of the “anti-sex trafficking” legislation the House passed last week. This legislation subjects web sites that knowingly profit from slowing there sites to be used for sex trafficking to be subject to criminal and civil liability. The bill also applied retroactively, rising serious constitutional and due process issues. The Justice Department has sent a letter to Congress expressing concerns about the retroactivity provision and some other sections of the bill. So even Jeff Sessions’s Justice Department thinks this bill threatens Constitutional protections.

While better than a reckless disregard standard, a knowing standard still creates a possibility that sites that monitor could be held liable for bad scores that fall through the cracks. This bill also creates new unconstitutional federal laws. The best solution is to leave it up to the states.

The House is in session Monday through Thursday. Among the legislation the House will consider is H.R. 4607, which expands requirements that federal agencies review regulations every ten years to see which ones need updates to reduce regulatory burdens. I wish they would ask me which regulations should be revised…

The agencies affected by this bill are the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and the Federal Reserve Board. The bill only effects the Fed in its role as a regulator not its monetary policy role.

The House will also consider H.R. 1917, which prohibits the Environmental Protection Agency from applying the Clean Air Act regulations to clay manufacturing.

The final bill the House will consider is H.R. 1118, which requires the Environmental Protection Agency to ease emissions limits for electric plants that turn coal refuse into energy.

The House will also consider eight suspension bills renaming post offices, which is good since those bills do not take away our liberties. The House will also consider the following bills under suspension:

1. H.R. 4768– Requires the President to develop a national strategy to combat financial networks of International criminal organizations. The bill requires the strategy be developed by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Attorney General, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, the Director of National Intelligence, the Secretary of Defense, the Director the Director of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, the Director of the United States Secret Service, the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, the Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy.

Among the threats the strategy must address are the “kleptocrats” but the bill does not define it, thus federal agencies can use that as a catch-all for anyone they wish to target who can now be labeled as a terrorist or drug dealer.

2. H.R. 4986– Reauthorizes the Federal Communications Commission.

3. H.R. 3737- Requires a report on the extent of checking social media activity of individuals undergoing a security clearance investigation.

4. H.R. 4043– Reauthorizes the Whistleblower Protection program.

5. S. 188– Prohibits  federal funds for being used for an official portrait of any government employee, member of Congress or the President.

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