This Week in Congress

The U.S. Senate will be considering nominations, possibly including that of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

The House is in session from Tuesday through Friday.

The big legislation this week is H.R. 6157, the Department of Defense, Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations bill. The bill also keeps the government open until December, so Congress can go home and campaign without worrying about a government shutdown.

The Senate passed H.R. 6157 last week. Only seven senators voted against this $854 billion welfare/warfare state monstrosity. They are:

Jeff Flake (R-AZ)

Mike Lee (R-UT)

Rand Paul (R-KY)

David Perdue (R-GA)

Bernie Sanders (I-VT)

Ben Sasse (R-NE)

Pat Toomey (R-PA)

The bill lacks a sub “rider” ensuring that taxpayer dollars do not support abortions, because there was a “gentleman’s agreement” between the two parties to not put controversial riders into the spending bills. This means no restrictions on the federal bureaucracy on issues ranging from environmental policy to education.

Pro-lifers were told their concerns would be addressed in conference with the House but there was no effort to add any riders. This is why the Senate leadership fought Rand Paul’s efforts to add language forbidding funding for abortion.

Rachel Bovard details the GOP sell-out on funding abortion here.

You can read more about H.R. 6157 here.

The House will also consider the three bills (H.R. 6757, H.R.  6756. H.R. 6760) that constitute tax reform 2.0. For more on those bills, see here.

The House will also consider a number of bills under suspension of the rules, including.

  1. H.R. 6620– Requires the Department of Homeland Security to prepare a threat assessment on the risk of drone attacks.

  1. H.R. 6742– requires all customs and border patrol agents to be equipped with two-way radios.

  1. H.R. 6378– Reauthorizes federal pandemic and all-hazards preparedness programs.

  1. H.R. 6511– Establishes a pilot program to lease “underutilized” facilities of the Petroleum Strategic Reserve. Since the Petroleum Strategic Reserves only purpose is to allow politicians to take credit for lowering high gas prices by releasing fuel from the reserves, why not just get rid of the whole thing?

  1. S. 2554– Outlaws pharmaceutical gag clauses. Here is what I wrote about this bill last week when it passed the Senate:

Yesterday, the Senate passed S. 2554, which bans “gag clauses.” These are contracts between insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies that forbid pharmacists from telling patients of the existence of low-cost alternatives to name-brand drugs.

Gag clauses are a symptom of our dysfunctional health care system, with its over-reliance on third-party producers. This results in the patients having no ability or incentive to minimize costs, and providers have incentives to cede control over health care to insurance companies and others. The solution is to restore a free-market in health care, not impose new regulations on health care providers.

  1. S. 2553– Outlaws gag clauses in Medicare and Medicaid.

  1. H.R. 1872– Restricts access of Chinese officials to the United States if China restricts access of U.S. personnel to Tibet.

  1. H.R. 6758– Directs the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to study how many patents have been issued to women and minorities and small businesses owned by women and minorities. The office is to make recommendations to Congress on legislation to increase the number of women and minorities getting patents.

  1. S. 1595– imposes new sanctions on foreign persons or agents of foreign governments that assist Hizballah.

  1. H.R. 6229- Authorizes programs for the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

  1. H.R. 5509– Authorizes the Department of Science to provide grants for research about STEM education and STEM workforce. The purpose is to improve STEM education . . . because nothing improves education like federal grants.

  1. H.R. 5075– Establishes a new nationwide alert system for missing adults.

  1. H.R. 6013– Amends the Migratory Bird Act to establish January 31 as the end of duck hunting season and establish special duck hunting days for youths, veterans, and active military families.

  1. H.R. 6316– Clarifies that the Small Business Advocacy Office is supposed to represent the interests of small businesses before international agencies and foreign governments.

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