This Week in Congress

The Senate continues work on HR 268, the disaster supplemental spending bill. The $13 billion bill has run into controversy over the funding levels for aid to Puerto Rico, with President Trump wanting less funding while some Democrats want to increase funding. Few are objecting to the parts of the bill providing millions in disaster aid for farmers, even though most of the losses farmers experienced from this year’s flooding are already covered by existing federal programs!

The Senate will also vote on SRes. 50. This resolution limits debate on certain nominations from 30 to 2 hours. The change means that senators will need permission from their leaders to speak on these nominations.

This would make it harder for senators who are standing against the party and on principle to make their case. So next time President Trump nominates a neocon for certain positions, Sen. Rand Paul may not be able to speak on it. If the change does not get the 60 votes needed to advance to debate and passage, Senator McConnell may make the change via the nuclear option.

The House is in session Monday through Thursday. Among the bills being considered is HR 1585, which renews the Violence Against Women’s Act. This bill expands the law promoting spouses and domestic partners from owning guns to include "dating partners.” This provision could lead to more Americans losing their Second Amendment rights because of false charges.

The House may consider S.Res. 7, the resolution disapproving of U.S. involvement in the Yemen civil war.

Finally, President Trump’s decision to intervene in the appeal of the case finding ObamaCare unconstitutional combined with the introduction of bills designed to shore up ObamaCare suggest the Democrats are going to make health care a major issue in 2020 and may be walking (running?) away from Medicare for all. Meanwhile the Republicans continue to flounder without a real replacement for ObamaCare.

The house will also consider bills under suspension including:

1. HR 1433– Establishes programs, including employee awards, to improve morale at the Department of Homeland Security. (I wonder what awards TSA employees will receive — "Most Efficient at Throwing Away Breast Milk" or "Best at Making Children Cry?")

2. HR 1493—Establishes a "school security council” in the Department Of Homeland Security, furthering federal intrusion into public education and leading to (further) violations of students rights.


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