This Week in Congress

But first a report on some recent bills.

On January 22, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 676, legislation prohibiting the use of funds to withdraw from NATO by a vote of 356-22.  The bill was in response to President Trump’s recent criticisms of our NATO allies for not paying their “fair share.”

The 22 no’s were all Republicans.

NATO members responded to President Trump’s comments by increasing their defense budgets. Maybe the NATO members realize that with the US Treasury preparing to borrow $1 trillion to finance the national debt - which is expected to reach $897 billion this year - the US can no longer afford to be the world’s policeman.

NATO was formed as a defensive alliance to protect western Europe from the Soviet Union. Therefore, it should have been dismantled after the Soviet Union dissolved in 1982. But not only did it not disband, it was expanded to include many former communist nations in violation of a promise made by the US Government as part of the negotiations over Soviet withdrawal from eastern Europe.

Campaign for Liberty Chairman Ron Paul discussed this vote on a recent Liberty Report, which you can watch here.

This is not the only rebuke to President Trump’s efforts to seek more rational foreign policy in recent weeks. Last week, the Senate voted for cloture on an amendment offered by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell expressing the “sense of the Senate” that “precipitous withdrawals” from Syria and Afghanistan would threaten America’s national interest.

The vote is here.

This is the first time I have ever seen a Senate Majority Leader directly rebuke a president from his own party.

Every house Democrat voted for the NATO resolution, showing that anti-Trump hysteria and a commitment to internationalism can trump (no pun intended) a commitment to peace among modern liberals.

However, anti-war sentiment is still alive and well among Democrats’ grassroots in that every Democratic senator running or considering running for president voted no.

And proof of Ron Paul’s continued influence is that the Republicans who opposed this resolution are among the most pro-free market members.

The House is in pro forma session (no vote) Monday and Tuesday to prepare for President Trump’s State of the Union address.

The House will consider one bill under regular order this week. H.R. 840, which provides child care assistance to veterans who are receiving medical care from the Veterans Administration.

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

  1. H.R. 831—Requires the Secretary of Transportation to solicit nominations for lands to be included in the national scenic byways program and make those locations chosen by the public.  Being put in the national scenic byways program puts these roads under federal control.

  1. H.R. 494— Reauthorizes juvenile accountability block grants, which provide federal funds for (and thus lead to federal control of) juvenile justice programs.

  1. H.R. 450—Makes it a federal crime to defraud a veteran of their benefits.

  1. H.R. 752—Requires the Justice Department to maintain a database in every case—whether before an administrative agency or federal court—where the winning party was awarded fees and court costs.

  1. H.R. 507—Requires the Attorney General to study ways to measure the prevalence of human trafficking and other issues related to human trafficking including the seeking of restitution form traffickers to their victims.

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