This Week in Congress

The Senate will be voting on amendments to S. 2155, legislation reforming Dodd-Frank. As of this writing there has not yet been a final decision on whether Senator Rand Paul’s Audit the Fed amendment will be voted on, so there is still time to call Senator Mitch McConnell and tell him to let the Senate vote on Audit the Fed. Since Senator McConnell's DC Office is not accepting phone calls, you should call one of his district offices:

Paducah (Western Kentucky Office)
Phone: (270) 442-4554

Louisville (Louisville Metro Area Office)
Phone: (502) 582-6304

London (Eastern Kentucky Office)
Phone: (606) 864-2026

Bowling Green (South Central Kentucky Office)
Phone: (270) 781-1673

Fort Wright (Northern Kentucky Office)
Phone: (859) 578-0188

Lexington (Bluegrass Area Office)
Phone: (859) 224-8286

Following the vote on Audit the Fed, the Senate will turn its attention to H.R. 1865, legislation holding internet service providers accountable for bad acts done by those using their platforms. For more on this see here and here.

The Senate may vote on S.J.Res. 54, a resolution invoking the War Powers Act and the Espionage Act to force the Senate to vote to end continued U.S. support for Saudi Arabia’s intervention in the Yemen civil war. The Department of Defense has released a letter claiming the War Powers Act is not valid in this situation because U.S. troops are not involved in hostilities. They therefore plan to ignore the resolution which they view as dangerous encroachment on the President’s inherent power as Commander-In-Chief.

Here is a good summary of the argument and here is a letter from conservative legal scholar Bruce Fein and progressive legal scholar Bruce Ackerman debunking the DOD’s arguments.

Concerns have been raised by Senator Rand Paul and the American Civil Liberties Union over a section of the bill that allows continued involvement in Yemen if the action is related to the fight against Al Qaeda. The objection is that this implicitly authorizes military action against Al Qaeda in Yemen, something that is not currently explicitly authorized (contrary to what a lot of  people think the 2001 authorization of force did not authorize a permanent war against Al Qaeda but only against those “individuals or organizations invoked in the September 11 attacks” so whether it authorizes military involvement in Yemen 17 years after 9-11 is a debatable question). So this resolution would affirmatively authorize military intervention to get Al Qaeda while limiting intervention in Yemen’s civil war.

What is not debatable is that S.J.Res. 55, which may be offered as a substitute for S.J. 54, is bad. Rather than just prohibit involvement in Yemen’s civil war, S.J Res. 55 requires the Secretary of State to “certify” that Saudi Arabia is making a “good faith effort” to support peace talks in Yemen and is helping with humanitarian relief efforts. The resolution not only authorizes intervention to stop Al Qaeda but to counter Iranian action in Yemen thus authorizing US military action against Iran and taking a step toward full-fledged war.

Campaign for Liberty a Chairman Ron Paul and Daniel McAdams of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity dismissed the Defense Department letter, the upcoming Senate debate, and the situation in Yemen in yesterday’s edition of the Ron Paul Liberty Report.

The House is in session Tuesday through Friday. The most significant bill is actually on the suspension calendar for Tuesday, H.R. 4909. This bill renews school safety grants. The bill allows local schools to use grant money for metal detectors.

It also authorizes funds for “crisis intervention” and coordination with local law enforcement and threat assessment. This could lead to students being unfairly targeted by authorities because they are having personal problems or even normal teenage angst.

It also funds “evidence-based” school safety programs….you know what evidence shows is a good way to promote school safety? Not making schools gun-free zones.

This bill could be amended in the Senate to include other gun control measures, such as legislation expanding the unconstitutional national background check system.

The House will also consider H.R. 3949, which reauthorizes Project Safe Neighborhood. These grants are meant to combat gang violence by fostering cooperation between local governments and state governments.

The House will also consider legislation allowing terminally ill patients to use non-FDA approved treatments. This is good legislation, but the fact that Congress has to pass a law to affirm someone’s right to use a medical treatment that could save their lives shows just how far we are from a free society.

The House will also consider H.R. 1116, which requires financial regulatory agencies to tailor any regulatory actions so as to limit burdens on the institutions involved, with consideration of the risk profiles and business models of those institutions.

The House will also consider H.R. 4465, legislation extending funding for the Upper Colorado and San Juan Fish recovery program. Yes that’s actually a thing.

Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF