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This week in Congress: Will the Government Shutdown?

Probably not but I can dream...

The House and the Senate have returned to work. The major item on the agenda remains the Continuing Resolution keeping the government open until  December 9. If a continuing resolution is not signed into law by midnight Friday the government "shuts down."

As this is being written, the Senate has been unable to reach a deal on the Continuing Resolution, as Senator McConnell has failed two attempts to get cloture on the continuing resolution he introduced last week. Senate Democrats are opposing the resolution because it does not contain funding to address the water crisis in Flint, Michigan.

The continuing resolution also does not change the Export-Impost Banks's quorum rules, Some Democrats and at least one Republican (Lindsey Graham) are threatening to oppose the CR unless the ExImBank quorum changes.

Conservatives are likely to oppose the CR because of opposition to having Congress return for a lame duck session.

Others will oppose it because it does not stop President Obama's plan to turn control over assigned internet domain names to an international body. Campaign for Liberty has signed the following memo in opposition to his proposal:

September 12, 2016 Washington, DC

"We bought it, we paid for it, we built it, and we intend to keep it."

Ronald Reagan, March 31, 1976, recommending that the (now Chinese controlled) canal in Panama not be tossed away.   Governor Reagan was referring to only one strategic American asset.

On October 1, 2016, President Barack Obama will hand to Iran, China, Russia, and others control of perhaps America's single greatest strategic asset - the world wide web known as the internet.

The internet has become the foundation of international commerce for one reason. It operates under the protection of American legal, cultural, and political freedoms. Totalitarian regimes have sought to block access to the internet within their borders.

However, America's Constitutional guarantee of freedom of speech has allowed even disfavored websites to be accessed via often difficult, but possible work-arounds.

Forces around the globe desire to control this medium. Shut down its fairness. Steal its commercial communications and secrets. Perhaps none of Mr. Obama's actions during his two terms will do as irreparable damage to our national security as his transferring to the United Nations on October 1, 2016 control of the internet.

Article IV, Section 3 of the Constitution of the United States clearly states that only "The Congress shall have power to dispose of ... property belonging to the United States."

Twice Congress has passed, and the President has signed, legislation to prevent Mr. Obama from using funds to transfer the Internet to foreign control.

The Protecting Internet Freedom Act by Senator Ted Cruz and Rep. Sean Duffy will ensure the continued protection of internet freedom by prohibiting the National Telecommunications and Infrastructure Administration (NTIA) from allowing the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) functions contract to expire.

It will ensure that the United States maintains sole ownership of the .gov and .mil top-level domains, which are vital to national security. Congress must take action before October 1 in order to preserve the independence of the world wide web that has been such a blessing to the world.

We believe that it is our duty to hold every Member of Congress, House or Senate, Democrat or Republican individually responsible should they allow Mr. Obama to unilaterally take this blazon step in disregard of Congressional mandates.

No other nation would even consider discarding such a valuable strategic asset. In the next few days we will have the names of those in Washington who are there to protect America and those who are not.

Here and here are the roll-call votes on cloture.

In addition to the CR, the House will vote on its version of  WADRA .

The House will also consider HR 954, legislation that exempts individuals who had been receiving healthcare from one of the Obamacare co-opts that have gone out of business from Obamacare's penalties.

The House may also consider legislation overturning the Department of Labor's overtime regulations. For details on the regulations see here.

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

1. HR 1877 -- creates a new federal grant program to train first responders in providing mental health "first aid." The bill authorizes $20,000,000 for the grants, but does not provide any offsets for the spending.

2. HR 3537 -- This bill extends the drug war by changing the definition of synthetic drug to one that is similar (rather than substantially similar) to an outlawed drug.

3. HR 3779 -- forbids the Federal Government from including Social Security numbers on documents sent by mail. Good idea but why is the government just doing this now?

4. HR 845 -- directs the Secretary of Agriculture to develop a strategy to increase the role of volunteers in maintaining National Forests. Maybe when they see that private individuals can help care for the parks Congress will considering privatizing federal lands.

5. HR 5459 -- This act expands the role of fusion centers in cyber-security. In 2009, a fusion center issued a report identifying supporters of Campaign for Liberty as potential terrorists.

Yet the so-called pro-liberty Congress keeps giving these centers more authority.

(Note: this bill was originally scheduled for last week but was postponed.)

6. HR 5346 --  another vote postponed from last week, this bill gives Homeland Security new authority over the security of our food system.

7. S. 1698 -- Makes payments made to individuals for harm done by a mandatory sterilization program exempt form federal taxation. For more on the dark history of mandatory sterilization programs see here. 

To end on a positive note, the House will consider HR 5065 which requires Homeland Security to make sure TSA screeners know that Americans are allowed to carry containers of breast milk, baby formula and juice on airlines. Hopefully this will put an end to stories like this.

The reason the bills where delayed is because Representative Tim Huleskamp forced the House to vote on the over 50 votes that were on last week's suspension calendar. Good for Rep. Huelskamp!


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