A bill to punish law enforcement officers who obey a hypothetical federal mandate to seize the firearms of Idaho citizens found no opposition on the Senate floor.
Lawmakers voted 34-0 in favor of the bill Wednesday, clearing its path to the House.
Sen. Steve Vick, a Dalton Gardens Republican who co-sponsors the bill with Meridian Republican Marv Hagedorn, touts it as a way to ensure Idahoans’ Second Amendment rights are protected.
The proposal is a response to fears that President Barack Obama will ban some guns.
Hagedorn has previously said he knows of no such federal measure in the works.
The bill is similar to one sponsored by then-Rep. Mark Patterson who has since resigned from the legislature. That bill passed the House, but died in the Senate.
Lawmakers and law enforcement credit new wording with taking much of the controversy out of the measure.
The measure won’t affect agreements between state and federal agencies that collaborate on gang and drug investigations.
Likewise, officers who confiscate felons’ firearms won’t get in any trouble.
Senate Democrats killed an amendment from Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) that would have paid for unemployment benefits for many Americans and replaced recent cuts to veterans’ pensions by closing a tax code loophole that allows illegal aliens to access the Refundable Child Tax Credit.
The vote failed on Thursday 54-42, with all Republicans but Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV) voting for the amendment and against Senate Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV). Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) crossed the aisle to vote alongside Republicans in favor of the amendment.
The amendment would have been to the Unemployment Insurance Extension Bill, S. 1845. On the Senate floor while debating the amendment, Ayotte argued her amendment is “one that would fix fraud in our tax code that really came to light in 2011 in a Treasury IG [Inspector General] report.”
“What it would simply require is those who seek the additional child tax credit to file a Social Security number just like those who seek the Earned Income Tax Credit in this country,” Ayotte said.
And why is that? Because the investigations of this tax refund that people receive found that they were claiming it for people who were number one not authorized to work in this country were claiming it and secondly for children that might not even exist. Investigations found that children who don’t even live in this country [were getting the tax credit].
Ayotte argued on the Senate floor that her amendment would “pay for three months of unemployment insurance for American workers for this issue that we have before this chamber.”
“It would pay for a fix to the military retirement cuts to the COLA that also impacted our wounded warriors that were done in the most recent budget that were unfair,” Ayotte added. “Members of both sides of the aisle have come together to say we should fix [that] and say it’s unfair. What else would it do? It would reduce the deficit. And what I hear from the Majority Leader is I hear ‘well we’ve heard that idea before.’ Well, we may have heard it before, but we’ve not been allowed a vote on it.”
While Ayotte made a case for the amendment, Democrat Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) argued against it.
“Now this idea of going after children is one of the worst ideas I have ever heard and I’m shocked,” an irate Boxer said on the Senate floor while shaking her finger up and down. “I am shocked. You’re going to hurt children. You’re going to take away food out of their mouths.”
At another point, Boxer called on senators to support Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
“Let us support our leader,” she said. “And let us work through the weekend to come up with a plan. I think the Majority Leader has one.”
Soon thereafter, Boxer criticized Republicans for wanting to vote on amendments.
“All they do on that side is complain that their amendments are so important,” Boxer said while throwing both her arms up in the air.
WATCH VIDEO OF SEN. AYOTTE AGAINST SEN. BOXER:
Despicable, absolutely despicable. And any Republican who went along with this should be ashamed of themselves. There are dozens and dozens of things we could cut, but we target disabled vets? Every single member who voted for this should be thrown from office.
A note about the clip from Patty Murray promising to fix the problem, after the bill is passed. Why after? Why not fix it now, before passing it? This is just more double talk from our Congress. Don’t worry about this bill, we will fix it later, right, sure you will Congresswoman.
Another note about our politicians in Congress. Only the Tea Party members seem sincere about fixing our fiscal house. The career politicians seem far more concerned with retaining power than serving their country. We can change this culture of Congressional entitlement, or begin to at least, next November. We need to retake the Senate, and keep the House, but we also need to support more Conservative candidates like Milton Wolf in Kansas over incumbent Republicans who have forgotten what their job is.
Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), the ranking GOP member of the Senate Budget Committee, said Thursday that Senate Republicans plan to filibuster the budget deal that House Budget Committee chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) cut with Senate Budget Committee chairwoman Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA).
The deal passed the House 332-94, with 62 Republicans and 32 Democrats voting against it. The bill is expected to come up for votes in the Senate early next week, either Monday or Tuesday.
The type of filibuster Sessions spoke of is not the traditional “talking filibuster” like the one Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) launched earlier this year to protest Attorney General Eric Holder and President Barack Obama’s drone policies. It is a procedural filibuster, The Hill reports, that would require Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) to at least twice obtain 60 votes to pass the bill.
“They’ll need 60 votes on cloture and 60 votes on the budget point of order,” Sessions said, according to The Hill.
Since there are only 55 Democrats in the U.S. Senate, Reid will twice need at least five Republicans to break from their party and support the budget deal. Reid may need more Republicans if liberals like Sens. Tom Harkin (D-IA) or Bernie Sanders (I-VT) oppose the deal because it does not extend unemployment benefits. Considering 32 Democrats voted against the deal in the House, it seems plausible Reid may lose at least one, maybe two Democrats in the Senate.
Senate Republicans largely seem unified against the bill. As of late Thursday, not one Senate Republican confirmed suppot of the plan.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell will vote against it, and Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn and GOP conference chairman John Thune have indicated their opposition to it as well. Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) has said he opposes it. Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Rand Paul (R-KY), Mike Lee (R-UT), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), and Sessions each oppose it too.
Sens. Bob Corker (R-TN), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), and Roger Wicker (R-MS), who usually support similar measures, have each announced their opposition.
Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) is undecided as of this point, and while Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) – easily the Senate’s most liberal Republican – has said he is leaning “yes,” he has not yet committed to voting for the deal, citing concerns with military pension cuts in it.
Appropriators like Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) have not committed either, according to Roll Call.
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), the Majority Whip in the Senate, confirmed to reporters on Thursday that the Democrats need GOP votes to make this happen.
“We need Republican votes to pass the budget agreement, period,” Durbin said. “We need at least five, and I’m hoping that there’ll be more than that. There are not five who Republicans have announced they’re for it, I mean to my knowledge, and I hope there are many more than that, and they’re just holding back for any number of reasons.”
While the deal is more likely to pass the Senate than not, the question becomes about which Republicans – if any – Reid will be able to attract to support the Ryan budget deal.
The partisan battles that have paralyzed Washington in recent years took a historic turn on Thursday, when Senate Democrats eliminated filibusters for most presidential nominations, severely curtailing the political leverage of the Republican minority in the Senate and assuring an escalation of partisan warfare.
The rule change means federal judge nominees and executive-office appointments can be confirmed by a simple majority of senators, rather than the 60-vote super majority that has been required for more than two centuries.
The change does not apply to Supreme Court nominations. But the vote, mostly along party lines, reverses nearly 225 years of precedent and dramatically alters the landscape for both Democratic and Republican presidents, especially if their own political party holds a majority of, but fewer than 60, Senate seats.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) accused Democrats of a power grab and suggested that they will regret their decision if Republicans regain control of the chamber.
“We’re not interested in having a gun put to our head any longer,” McConnell said. “Some of us have been around here long enough to know that the shoe is sometimes on the other foot.” McConnell then addressed Democrats directly, saying: “You may regret this a lot sooner than you think,” he said.
Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, warned Democrats against the rule change on Wednesday, saying that if the GOP reclaimed the Senate majority, Republicans would further alter the rules to include Supreme Court nominees, so that Democrats could not filibuster a Republican pick for the nation’s highest court.
The vote to change the rule passed 52-48. Three Democrats – Sens. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) – joined with 45 Republicans in opposing the measure. Levin is a longtime senator who remembers well the years when Democratic filibusters blocked nominees of Republican presidents; Manchin and Pryor come from Republican-leaning states.
Infuriated by what he sees as a pattern of obstruction and delay over President Obama’s nominees, Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) triggered the so-called “nuclear option” by proposing a motion to reconsider the nomination of Patricia Millet, one of the judicial nominees whom Republicans recently blocked by a filibuster, to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.
The Senate voted 57-40, with three abstentions, to reconsider Millett’s nomination. Several procedural votes followed. The Senate Parliamentarian, speaking through Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.), the chamber’s president pro temp, then ruled that 60 votes are needed to cut off a filibuster and move to a final confirmation vote. Reid appealed that ruling, asking senators to decide whether it should stand.
Senators began voting about 12:15 p.m. The final vote was 52 in favor of changing the rule, 48 against.
The Democratic victory paves the way for the rapid confirmation of Millett and two other nominee to the D.C. appeals court. All have recently been stymied by GOP filibusters, amid Republican assertions that the critical appellate court simply did not need any more judges.
But the impact of the move is be more far-reaching. The means for executing this rules change – a simple-majority vote, rather than the long-standing two-thirds majority required to change the chamber’s standing rules – is more controversial than the actual move itself.
Many Senate majorities have thought about using this technical maneuver to get around centuries of parliamentary precedent, but none has done so in a unilateral move on a major change of rules or precedents. This simple-majority vote has been executed in the past to change relatively minor precedents involving how to handle amendments; for example, one such change short-circuited the number of filibusters that the minority party could deploy on nominations.
Reid has rattled his saber on the filibuster rules at least three other times in the past three years, yielding each time to a bipartisan compromise brokered by the chamber’s elder statesmen.
But no deal emerged by the time debate started Thursday morning. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), the main negotiator who brokered recent deals to avert such a showdown, as well as one in 2005, met with Reid on Wednesday, but neither side reported progress.
The main protagonists for the rules change have been junior Democrats elected in the last six or seven years, who have alleged that Republicans have used the arcane filibuster rules to create a procedural logjam that has left the Senate deadlocked. Upon arriving in 2009, Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) said, he found that “the Senate was a graveyard for good ideas.”
As he recounted in a speech this week, Udall said, “I am sorry to say that little has changed. The digging continues.”
As envisioned earlier this week, Democrats would issue a new rule that would still allow for 60-vote-threshold filibusters on legislation and nominees to the Supreme Court.
Republicans, weary from the third rules fight this year, seemed to have adopted a resigned indifference to this latest threat, as opposed to the heated rhetoric in mid-July when the issue last flared up. Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee, mocked the idea that the Democrats would leave in place the filibuster rule for Supreme Court nominations, in the event that a GOP nominee wins the White House in 2016.
He made clear that if that occurred, and the GOP reclaimed the Senate majority, the Republicans would then alter the rules so that Democrats could not filibuster a Republican pick for the Supreme Court. “If [Reid] changes the rules for some judicial nominees, he is effectively changing them for all judicial nominees, including the Supreme Court,” Grassley said Wednesday.
Reid’s move is a reversal of his position in 2005, when he was minority leader and fought the GOP majority’s bid to change rules on a party-line vote. A bipartisan, rump caucus led by McCain defused that effort.
At the time, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) was the No. 2 GOP leader and helped push the effort to eliminate filibusters on the George W. Bush White House’s judicial selections. Eight years later, McConnell, now the minority leader, has grown publicly furious over Reid’s threats to use the same maneuver.
Democrats contend that this GOP minority, with a handful of senators elected as tea party heroes, has overrun McConnell’s institutional inclinations and served as a procedural roadblock on most rudimentary things. According to the Congressional Research Service, from 1967 through 2012, majority leaders had to file motions to try to break a filibuster of a judicial nominee 67 times – and 31 of those, more than 46 percent – occurred in the last five years of an Obama White House and Democratic majority.
Republicans contend that their aggressive posture is merely a natural growth from a decades-long war over the federal judiciary, noting that what prompted the 2005 rules showdown were at least 10 filibusters of GOP judicial nominees. To date, only a handful of Obama’s judicial selections have gone to a vote and been filibustered by the minority.
Twenty-seven Republican senators voted for Wednesday’s bill passed by the upper chamber to fund the U.S. government in a continuing resolution and extend the nation’s debt limit. Eighteen voted against the measure, and one was not present.
Lamar Alexander (TN)
Kelly Ayotte (NH)
John Barrasso (WY)
Roy Blunt (MO)
John Boozman (AR)
Richard Burr (NC)
Saxby Chambliss (GA)
Jeff Chiesa (NJ)
Dan Coats (IN)
Thad Cochran (MS)
Susan Collins (ME)
Bob Corker (TN)
Deb Fischer (NE)
Jeff Flake (AZ)
Lindsey Graham (SC)
Orrin Hatch (UT)
John Hoeven (ND)
Johnny Isakson (GA)
Mike Johanns (NE)
Mark Kirk (IL)
John McCain (AZ)
Mitch McConnell (KY)
Jerry Moran (KS)
Lisa Murkowski (AK)
Rob Portman (OH)
John Thune (SD)
Roger Wicker (MS)
Tom Coburn (OK)
John Cornyn (TX)
Mike Crapo (ID)
Ted Cruz (TX)
Mike Enzi (WY)
Chuck Grassley (IA)
Dean Heller (NV)
Ron Johnson (WI)
Mike Lee (UT)
Rand Paul (KY)
James Risch (ID)
Pat Roberts (KS)
Marco Rubio (FL)
Tim Scott (SC)
Jeff Sessions (AL)
Richard Shelby (AL)
Pat Toomey (PA)
David Vitter (LA)
Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK), who is recovering in Oklahoma from quadruple bypass heart surgery, did not vote.
HOUSE ROLL CALL
Eighty-seven Republican Congressmen voted for the bill, and 144 voted against.
He sold us out for a friggen dam.
A proposal to end the government shutdown and avoid default orchestrated by Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and Democratic Leader Harry Reid includes a nearly $3 billion earmark for a Kentucky project.
Language in a draft of the McConnell-Reid deal (see page 13, section 123) provided to WFPL News shows a provision that increases funding for the massive Olmsted Dam Lock in Paducah, Ky., from $775 million to nearly $2.9 billion.
The dam is considered an important project for the state and region in regards to water traffic along the Ohio River.
As The Courier-Journal’s James Bruggers reported in 2011, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said they needed about $2.1 billion for the locks due to “stop and go funding.”
You would be right! He wants to cause as much pain for the people, believing they will blame the GOP. This is all about one thing the 2014 mid-term elections, and Obama really digs using the word ransom apparently
This is getting so old. House Republicans came up with yet another proposal to fund the government and avoid hitting the debt ceiling. Guy Benson noted that the plan Harry Reid called “extreme” in a diatribe on the Senate floor, is very close to the Senate plan. But Democrats can’t agree to it, because then they couldn’t go out and accuse the Republicans of being partisan. The White House rejected the proposal before Nancy Pelosi could even get her face in front of a microphone.
An hour earlier rank-and-file Republicans came out of the meeting to say their leaders had proposed taking a plan being worked on in the Senate and attaching the two Obamacare changes, and were going to put that bill on the House floor later Tuesday.
But by 11 a.m., Mr. Boehner and his chief lieutenants sounded much less certain, and several Republicans said it would be a close vote if the bill were brought to the floor.
Democratic leaders said not to count on them for help in getting the bill through the House, and the White House also rejected the plan, saying it preferred the Senate’s negotiations.
That deal, still under construction, doesn’t make any major dents in the president’s health law.
The White House released a statement that includes the word “ransom,” of course.
Yes, of course!
Senate Republicans furiously attacked Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Utah Sen. Mike Lee behind closed doors and leaked details of an off-record meeting to the media to harm the two senators, according to Lee.
Lee divulged some of the details of a closed-door meeting on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show on Friday, since he said much of it had been leaked to the media by his own colleagues.
“[N]ormally, I don’t comment at all on closed-door meetings between Republican senators,” Lee said. “It’s a pretty strict rule we follow. But one exception I’ll make is circumstances like this, where contents of the meeting were leaked deliberately by several of my colleagues and leaked in a very one-sided way. I’m happy to tell you about it here.”
I am sure these gutless Republicans would tell me “we have to win elections first”. Well, good luck winning any election if you continue to kick your base in the groin!
Lamar Alexander (TN) – Contact
Kelly Ayotte (NH) – Contact
John Barrasso (WY) – Contact
Roy Blunt (MO) – Contact
John Boozman (AR) – Contact
Richard Burr (NC) – Contact
Saxby Chambliss (GA) – Contact
Jeff Chiesa (NJ) – Contact
Daniel Coats (IN) – Contact
Tom Coburn (OK) – Contact
Thad Cochran (MS) – Contact
Susan Collins (ME) – Contact
Bob Corker (TN) – Contact
John Cornyn (TX) – Contact
Jeff Flake (AZ) – Not Present For Vote – Contact
Lindsey Graham (SC) – Contact
Orrin Hatch (UT) – Not Present For Vote – Contact
John Hoeven (ND) – Contact
Johnny Isakson (GA) – Contact
Mike Johanns (NE) – Contact
Ron Johnson (WI) – Contact
Mark Kirk (IL) – Contact
John McCain (AZ) – Contact
Mitch McConnell (KY) – Contact
Lisa Murkowski (AK) – Contact
John Thune (SD) – Contact
Roger Wicker(MS) – Contact
Mike Crapo (ID) – Contact
Ted Cruz (TX) – Contact
Mike Enzi (WY) – Contact
Deb Fischer (NE) – Contact
Chuck Grassley (IA) – Contact
Dean Heller (NV) – Contact
James Inhofe (OK) – Contact
Mike Lee (UT) – Contact
Jerry Moran (KS) – Contact
Rand Paul (KY) – Contact
Rob Portman (OH) – Contact
Jim Risch (ID) – Contact
Pat Roberts (KS) – Contact
Marco Rubio (FL) – Contact
Tim Scott (SC) – Contact
Jeff Sessions (AL) – Contact
Richard Shelby (AL) – Contact
Pat Toomey (PA) – Contact
David Vitter (LA) – Contact
Two days after winning his party’s nomination for U.S. Senate Cory Booker is already pandering to La Raza. Senor Mayor has decreed that Newark, NJ will no longer detain illegal aliens.
The Newark Police Department has become the first law enforcement agency in New Jersey to refuse the federal government’s requests to detain people accused of minor crimes who are suspected of being in the U.S. illegally, according to immigration advocates.
In enacting the policy, Newark becomes the latest city to opt out of the most controversial part of the “Secure Communities” program implemented by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency in 2011, which allows the agency to ask local police to hold any suspect for up to 48 hours if their immigration status is called into question.
“Secure Communities” was designed to enhance ICE’s ability to track dangerous criminals who are undocumented immigrants. Under the policy the Department of Homeland Security reviews fingerprints collected by local police during an arrest, which then allows ICE to issue the detainer requests.
So if you’re an American citizen with outstanding parking tickets from East Nowhereville Idaho the Newark PD will run a warrant check and slap on the cuffs.
But if you swam across the Rio Grande and avoided paying taxes for the past 15 years they’ll send you on your way with an apology and a smile.
What is it with Democrats and selective enforcement of laws?
Of course as Chris points out, Steve Lonegan is running against Cory Booker. And surely, Ann Coulter’s favorite Republican, Chris Christie, who just happens to be Governor of New Jersey, will do all he can to help Lonegan win that Senate race right? AH, not so much
Because Christie plans to sit on his handswhile Steve Lonegan battles Cory Booker for Frank Lautenberg’s old Senate seat.
New Jersey governor’s allies say he will offer an endorsement, but no campaign appearances or fundraising help.
An endorsement to whom?
Please tell me he isn’t going to endorse Booker. Please?
Don’t hold your breath Wysocki.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie finds himself in an awkward situation as he mulls whether to offer any support to his party’s tea-party Republican Senate nominee, Steve Lonegan, against his Democratic friend and off-and-on political ally, Cory Booker.
Lonegan, who cruised to victory in Tuesday’s Republican primary, has a frosty relationship with Christie, dating back to his primary challenge to the governor in the 2009 campaign. Just this week, Lonegan earned a public scolding from Christie for his campaign’s racially tinged tweet attacking Booker. “This is a governor who calls it like he sees it,” said a source close to Christie. “When Steve Lonegan says something and reporters want the governor’s reaction, he’ll tell people what he thinks.”
Chris Christie, closer to saying “the Republican Party left me” every day.
Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt) admitted Wednesday that under the Senate immigration bill, forging up to two passports is not a crime, adding that the bill leaves the decision whether to charge someone with passport fraud up to the discretion of prosecutors.
On Capitol Hill on Wednesday, CNSNews.com asked Leahy, “One of the provisions has to do with passports, that’s an important component. Do you know how many passports someone is able to forge before it’s a crime?”
Leahy said, “Well, it depends upon which interpretation is being used. You could have one form which is two, but then there are other criminal conduct that would be involved with that.”
“Cause you give prosecutors a certain amount of discretion, you have two or three different crimes you have committed, so then it’s [up to] prosecutorial discretion which one they will charge. I mean, I spent eight years as a prosecutor. One of things you learn [is] the importance of that.”
Leahy made the remarks in an interview with CNSNews.com after he was asked how many passports someone could forge before it was a crime under Senate Bill 744, which passed on a 68-to-32 vote June 27. All Senate Democrats and 14 Republicans voted for the bill.
While not a member of the bipartisan “Gang of Eight” group of senators who sponsored the bill, Leahy was a staunch supporter and voted for passage.
“With this legislation, we honor our American values,” Leahy said in a press release on the day the bill cleared the Senate.
“We honor the search of our forbearers for freedom, for prosperity, and for the promise that America has held out to so many for so long. Today is a good day for the Senate, and for the country. Today, with the help of many Senators, we will address a complex problem that is hurting our families, stifling our economy and threatening our security.”
In June, Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Ia.) introduced three amendments “that would tighten criminal laws that are being weakened in the comprehensive immigration bill being debated by the Senate,” but amendment #45 regarding passport fraud was rejected by the Senate Judiciary Committee on an 8-10 vote. Title 18, Section 1541 of the U.S. Code provides for fines and imprisonment up to 25 years for granting, issuing, or verifying “any passport” without proper authority.
But Section 3707 of the nearly 1,200-page Senate immigration bill amends that section to impose criminal penalties only after a person fabricates “three or more” phony passports. (See S 744.pdf)
In a Senate hearing Thursday, environmental scientist Roger Pielke of the University of Colorado said it’s “incorrect” to claim that global warming is spurring more extreme weather disasters.
“It is misleading and just plain incorrect to claim that disasters associated with hurricanes, tornadoes, floods or droughts have increased on climate timescales either in the United States or globally,” Pielke said in his testimony before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. “It is further incorrect to associate the increasing costs of disasters with the emission of greenhouse gases.”
“Hurricanes have not increased in the U.S. in frequency, intensity or normalized damage since at least 1900,” Pielke added. “The same holds for tropical cyclones globally since at least 1970.”
Senate Democrats pointed to the increase in extreme weather events like hurricanes and tornadoes as evidence of global warming. California Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer said that “climate change is real” and human activities were the cause, adding that people can “look out the window” to see evidence of it.
“Heat waves, droughts, wildfires and floods – all are now more frequent and intense,” said President Barack Obama in his State of the Union address.
Pielke, however, notes that U.S. floods have not increased in “frequency or intensity” since 1950 and economic losses from floods have dropped by 75 percent as a percentage of GDP since 1940. Tornado frequency, intensity, and normalized damages have also not increased since 1950, and Pielke even notes that there is some evidence that this has declined.
Pielke noted in his testimony that droughts have been shorter, less frequent, and have covered a smaller portion of the U.S over the last century. Globally, there has been very little change in the last 60 years, he said.
“The absolute costs of disasters will increase significantly in coming years due to greater wealth and populations in locations exposed to extremes,” Pielke added. “Consequent, disasters will continue to be an important focus of policy, irrespective of the exact future course of climate change.”
Senators sparred over predictions and claims made about man-made global warming. Democrats argued that the effects of global warming can be felt today and Republicans argued that evidence of human-induced warming is thin.
“I would note that it has not been titled ‘Global Warming: It’s Happening Now,’” said Louisiana Republican Sen. David Vitter. “Maybe that would have been too ironic given the Earth’s stagnant temperature for the past 15 years, a fact that is currently confounding climate scientists and modeling experts who predicted otherwise.”
Oklahoma Republican Sen. James Inhofe, a longtime critic of global warming claims, pointed to a set of Obama administration talking points on the “do’s and don’ts” when talking about global warming.
The talking points suggested not leading with economic arguments, not talking about scientific consensus surrounding global warming, and instead focusing on extreme weather.
Prior to the hearing, Republicans on the committee released a report that called into question many past global warming claims made by Democrats, as well as Obama administration policy proposals.
This didn’t deter Senate Democrats who continued to argue that global warming could be seen today. Rhode Island Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse and Vermont independent Sen. Bernie Sanders, who caucuses with the Democrats, both pushed for taxing carbon emissions.
Republicans criticized the lack of White House testimony at the hearing.
“It is unfortunate we don’t have any witnesses here from the Obama administration,” Vitter said. “Just weeks ago, President Obama announced a sweeping climate action plan, which will undoubtedly tighten the federal government’s grip on our economy.”
“If the president is going after greenhouse gases, he won’t stop at coal,” said Wyoming Republican Sen. John Barrasso.
Boxer, who chairs the committee, said no one from the administration was invited because they would be called in for future hearings on global warming.
Republican lawmakers passed a bill that would give Texas some of the nation’s most restrictive abortion laws and force most of its clinics to close, leading Democrats to promise a fight over the contentious measure in the courts at the ballot box.
More than 2,000 demonstrators filled the Capitol building in Austin to voice their opposition to the bill, including six protesters who were dragged out of the Senate chamber by state troopers for trying to disrupt the debate. The Republican majority passed the bill unchanged just before midnight, with all but one Democrat voting against it.
“Today the Texas Legislature took its final step in our historic effort to protect life,” said Gov. Rick Perry, who will sign the bill into law in the next few days. “This legislation builds on the strong and unwavering commitment we have made to defend life and protect women’s health.”
Democrats promised a legal challenge to the measure, which will ban abortions after 20 weeks, require doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital and require all abortions to take place in surgical centers. Only five out of Texas’ 42 existing abortion clinics meet the requirements to be a surgical center, and clinic owners say they can’t afford to upgrade or relocate.
“There will be a lawsuit. I promise you,” Dallas Sen. Royce West said on the Senate floor, raising his right hand as if taking an oath.
Democrats proposed 20 amendments to the bill, including making exceptions in cases of rape and incest and allowing doctors more leeway in prescribing abortion-inducing drugs. But Republicans would have none of it.
The bill is one of many championed in Republican-led states this year by anti-abortion groups set on challenging the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade ruling, which established a woman’s right to get an abortion until the point in which a fetus could viably survive outside the womb. A fetus is generally considered viable at 22 to 24 weeks.
Texas falls under the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, which has shown a willingness to accept more stringent limits on abortions.
By passing the new restrictions, Republicans pleased the Christian conservatives who make up the majority of primary voters. But they inspired abortion rights supporters to protest at the state Capitol in numbers not seen in Texas in at least 20 years.
Demonstrators packed normally boring committee hearings to voice their anger over the abortion bill and managed to disrupt key votes. They finished a lengthy filibuster by Democratic Sen. Wendy Davis, of Fort Worth, by jeering for the last 15 minutes of the first special legislative session, effectively killing the bill.
That’s when Perry called lawmakers back for round two. But opponents said the fight is far from over and used the popular anger to register and organize Democratic voters.
“Let’s make sure that tonight is not an ending point, it’s a beginning point for our future, our collective futures, as we work to take this state back.” Davis told 2,000 adoring supporters after the bill passed.
The Texas Republican Party, meanwhile, celebrated what they consider to be a major victory that makes Texas “a nationwide leader in pro-life legislation.”
“As Democrats continue to talk about their dreams of turning Texas blue, passage of (the bill) is proof that Texans are conservative and organized and we look forward to working with our amazing Republican leadership in the Texas Legislature as they finish the special session strong,” a party statement said.
Friday’s debate took place before a packed gallery of demonstrators, with anti-abortion activists wearing blue and abortion-rights supporters wearing orange. Security was tight, and state troopers reported confiscating bottles of urine and feces as they worked to prevent another attempt to stop the Republican majority from passing the proposal.
Those arrested or removed from the chamber included four women who tried to chain themselves to a railing in the gallery while singing, “All we are saying is give choice a chance.” One of the women was successful in chaining herself, leading to a 10-minute recess.
Sen. Glen Hegar of Katy, the bill’s Republican author, argued that all abortions, including those induced with medications, should take place in an ambulatory surgical center in case of complications.
Democrats pointed out that childbirth is more dangerous than an abortion and there have been no serious problems with women taking abortion drugs at home.
Cecile Richards, the daughter of former Gov. Anne Richards and president of Planned Parenthood, said Texas Republicans and abortion opponents won this political round — but it could cost them down the road.
“All they have done is built a committed group of people across this state who are outraged about the treatment of women and the lengths to which this Legislature will go to take women’s health care away,” she said.
The dedication of those activists will be tested during the 2014 elections. Democrats have not won a statewide seat in Texas since 1994, the longest such losing streak in the nation.
Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI), the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, tweeted Wednesday evening that the Senate’s immigration bill is unconstitutional because it raises revenues and originated in the Senate instead of the House.
“Chairman Camp: Senate immigration bill a revenue bill; unconstitutional and cannot be taken up by the House,” the official House and Ways Means Committee Twitter account sent out Wednesday evening.
As of this writing, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has not sent the immigration bill that passed the Senate 68-32 to the House of Representatives. Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX) announced that news in a late Wednesday statement, after circulating a “dear colleague” letter arguing the Senate immigration bill was unconstitutional because it raised revenue and did not originate in the House.
Language in the U.S. Constitution requires any bill that raises revenue, also known as a tax, must originate in the House of Representatives, not the Senate. America’s founders included that language because they believed the House was more accountable to the people of the country than the Senate, which was elected at that time by state legislators rather than through a direct vote. That clause of the Constitution is called the “origination clause” and reads as such: “All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives.”
When such a revenue-raising bill comes out of the Senate, the Speaker of the House, currently Rep. John Boehner (R-OH), can use a procedure called a “blue slip resolution” to automatically kill it on the grounds that it is unconstitutional. Stockman has been promising to attempt to kill the Senate’s bill that way and, as such, Reid has refused to send it to the House, thereby protecting the bill from being “blue slipped.” The term “blue slip,” Stockman’s office noted in a release, comes from the blue color of the paper on which a resolution is printed that returns a Senate bill back to the Senate in these situations.
“Even Harry Reid now admits the Senate’s amnesty bill is unconstitutional and cannot become law,” Stockman said in a Wednesday evening statement. “Any bill that raises revenue must start in the House. By creating their own amnesty taxes Senate Democrats broke the rules. Senate Democrats were so hell-bent on ramming through a gift to radical political activists they didn’t bother to check if it was even legal.”
“They got caught trying to sneak an illegal bill past the Constitution’s borders,” Stockman added.
Stockman’s office notes that Section 2102 of the bill “requires the payment of certain taxes and forgives the payment of other taxes as a condition of receiving amnesty and other benefits.”
Stockman’s office also cites the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) score of the bill from June 18, which states in part that “enacting S. 744 would have a wide range of effects on federal revenues, including changes in collections of income and payroll taxes, certain visa fees that are classified as revenues, and various fines and penalties. Taken together, those effects would increase revenues by $459 billion over the 2014-2023 period, according to estimates by JCT and CBO.”
On Wednesday, Stockman sent around a letter to his colleagues on Capitol Hill asking if they would back him in this argument. It appears many of his colleagues have, but a list was not immediately available.
Stockman sent a similar letter to Camp, the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, because Camp’s committee has jurisdiction over tax issues in the House.
William Teach asks the question that should be asked of every bill, does it meet constitutional guidelines? Texas Congressman Steve Stockman says it does not
(Washington Times) Rep. Steve Stockman, a Texas Republican, said Friday that the Senate immigration bill is a revenue measure, which makes it unconstitutional because all revenue bills must start in the House.
“Not only is the Senate amnesty bill an abuse of taxpayers and immigrants, it’s utterly unconstitutional,” Mr. Stockman said. “The Senate cannot invent its own amnesty taxes.”
He called on House Speaker John A. Boehner to officially reject the Senate bill as unconstitutional using what’s known in Congress as the “blue slip” process, which is when the House informs the Senate that one of its bills contains taxes or spending and therefore must come from the House.
Blue slip procedures are considered privileged motions and can be brought quickly to the chamber floor for debate and a final vote.
I’d mention that Article 1, Section 7, Clause 1, but Democrats and some Republicans have amnesty on their minds and won’t be dissuaded by the ultimate legal document of our Republic.
Sadly, the Constitution matters little to our “leaders”. People ask what is wrong with America? We ignore our Constitution, that is what is wrong with our nation.
The United States Senate voted 68-32 to pass the “Gang of Eight” immigration legislation on Thursday afternoon. Fourteen Republicans joined all Democrats and the two independents to vote to push the bill across the finish line, sending the bill to the House of Representatives.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) offered a personal story in a Senate floor speech praising the passage of the bill. “Here they [immigrants] brought their language and their customs,” Rubio, the Republican face of the Gang of Eight, said after speaking of his family. “Their religions and their music. And somehow, made them ours as well. From a collection of people from everywhere, we became one people. The most exceptional nation in human history.”
“And even with all our challenges, we remain the shining city on the hill,” he said. “We are still the hope of the world.”
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) made a similar pitch as the vote was coming down. “For Senator Harry Reid, immigration reform is personal,” Reid’s office said in a release with a video of the Leader on the senate floor. “As the Senator from Nevada, he has seen firsthand how the hardships imposed by our broken immigration system have hurt families in the state and across the country. As Congress debates immigration reform, Senator Reid will continue to do everything in his power to pass a comprehensive bill.”
Despite the stories from Reid, Rubio, and others, supporters of the legislation missed their mark, failing to achieve 70 votes, meaning they do not, by their own standards, have a mandate to send to the House of Representatives. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), an opponent of the bill, said in a statement that its senate passage is “just the beginning” of the fight.
“Sponsors of this legislation – despite the array of financial, establishment and special interest support – failed to hit their target of 70 votes,” Sessions said. “The more people learned about the bill the more uneasy they became. Failure to reach 70 votes is significant, and ensures the House has plenty of space to chart an opposite course and reject this fatally flawed proposal.”
As the Washington Times‘ Stephen Dinan reported, House Speaker John Boehner still considers the Senate Gang of Eight bill dead on arrival in his chamber of Congress. “The House is not going to take up and vote on whatever the Senate passes,” Boehner said at his weekly press conference.
House Judiciary Committee chairman Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) said in a statement after the Senate bill’s passage that the Gang of Eight legislation is not good, and the House will not be taking it up.
“While I congratulate the Senate for working hard to produce immigration reform legislation, I have many concerns about its bill,” Goodlatte said. “The bill repeats many of the same mistakes made in the 1986 immigration law, which got us into this mess in the first place. Among my many concerns, the Senate bill does not adequately address the interior enforcement of our immigration laws and allows the Executive branch to waive many, if not most, of the bill’s requirements.”
Goodlatte added that his committee will not be politically pressured into forcing a piece of legislation through. “While the Senate has every right to pass solutions it deems appropriate, the House does as well,” he declared. “That’s the American legislative process. Since the beginning of the year, the House Judiciary Committee has taken a step-by-step approach to reforming our nation’s immigration laws, embarking on a careful, methodical examination of various components of our immigration system.”
Notably, every member of Senate Republican leadership voted against the Gang of Eight bill. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn, and Senate GOP conference chairman John Thune all voted “no” on the bill. The lack of leadership support for the Gang of Eight is likely to hamper efforts to force Boehner to act in the House.
However, President Barack Obama praised the passage of the bill and called on advocates to use political pressure to force it through the House. “Now is the time when opponents will try their hardest to pull this bipartisan effort apart so they can stop commonsense reform from becoming a reality. We cannot let that happen,” Obama said in a statement.
“The bipartisan bill that passed today was a compromise. By definition, nobody got everything they wanted. Not Democrats. Not Republicans. Not me,” he said. “But the Senate bill is consistent with the key principles for commonsense reform that I – and many others – have repeatedly laid out.”
Democrats LOVE their late-term abortions. It’s who they are.
The AP reported:
Despite barely beating a midnight deadline, hundreds of jeering protesters helped stop Texas lawmakers from passing one of the toughest abortion measures in the country.
As the protesters raised the noise to deafening levels in the Texas Senate chamber late Tuesday, Republicans scrambled to gather their colleagues at the podium for a stroke-of-midnight vote.
“Get them out!” Sen. Donna Campbell shouted to a security guard, pointing to the thundering crowd in the gallery overhead that had already been screaming for more than 10 minutes.
“Time is running out,” Campbell pleaded. “I want them out of here!”
It didn’t work. The noise never stopped and despite barely beating the midnight end-of-session deadline with a vote to pass the bill, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst said the chaos in the chamber prevented him from formally signing it before the deadline passed, effectively killing it.
Dewhurst denounced the protesters as an “unruly mob.” Democrats who urged them on called the outburst democracy in action.