Senate Legislative Updates

Senate Legislative Update for September 12, 2014

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With only two weeks left before the Senate goes out of session for the month of October, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) has decided to waste time – time that could be spent working on funding our government. Instead, Reid chose to focus the bulk of the week highlighting a measure that would restrict the First Amendment to the Constitution.

This theoretical approach is just that, wasting time to put on a show in hopes of sending a message to the American people on the 2010 Citizens United decision – a decision in which the Supreme Court ruled that political spending is a form of protected speech under the First Amendment, and the government cannot keep corporations from spending money in elections.

So, with little likelihood of passing, Leader Reid continues his vendetta against campaign spending at the expense of productivity.

The Senate is also rehashing the Paycheck Fairness bill that the chamber voted down in April.

To view CWA’s letter of opposition on Paycheck Fairness, click here.

Senate Legislative Update for August 1, 2014

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The Senate was busy this week closing out legislative items before leaving for the August recess.

Israel Resolution: On Tuesday, the Senate passed a resolution supporting Israel’s right to defend itself against the terrorist group Hamas. It also condemned the United Nations Human Rights Council resolution that called for an investigation into potential human rights violations by Israel.

This resolution was passed through by Unanimous Consent.

Iron Dome Funding: On Friday, the Senate approved an emergency measure to fund Israel’s Iron Dome defense system. The additional $225 million will assist Israel in defending itself and its people against the missile attacks launched by the terrorist group Hamas.

Israel’s objective since the start of this conflict has been to restore peace and security for the people of Israel. CWALAC is pleased that the United States Senate has helped get supportive legislation through during Israel’s time of need.

United State-Israel Strategic Partnership Act: CWALAC was disappointed that the Senate did not pass the U.S.-Israel Strategic Partnership Act before it left for its five-week summer recess. Now more than ever, the world needs to hear America’s support for Israel.

Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-California) and Roy Blunt (R-Missouri) reintroduced this bill on July 28 with 80 cosponsors. The legislation, if passed, would declare that Israel is a “major strategic partner” of the United States.

Action: Please call your senators at 202-224-3121 and urge them to support this legislation. If your senator is already a cosponsor (click here to see), please thank them for their support.

Senate Legislative Update for July 25, 2014

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Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD): On Tuesday, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed this treaty by a vote of 12-6.

It is likely that the Senate will bring this United Nations treaty to the floor for a vote in September.

To read CWALAC’s letter on the CRPD, click here.

Action: Please call your senators at 202-224-3121 and ask them to vote against ratification of the CRPD if it comes to the Senate floor.

Nomination of Pamela Harris: On Monday, the chamber confirmed, by a vote of 50-43, Pamela Harris to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. This is a nominee who CWALAC opposed due to her extreme liberal ideologies on life and partial-birth abortion.

To read CWALAC’s letter that was sent to the Senate, click here.

Senate Legislative Update for July 18, 2014

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Anti-Religious Liberty Vote: This week, Senate Democrats tried to pass an anti-religious liberty bill that would restrict American’s First Amendment rights like never before. 60-votes were needed in a crucial procedural vote. If passed, S.2578 would have trumped the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby ruling. Members stopped this by a vote of 56-43.

CWALAC sent a letter to the Senate urging them not to pass this extreme measure. To read CWALAC letter, click here.

Women’s Health Protection Act: The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on Sen. Richard Blumenthal’s (D-Connecticut) bill, the “Women’s Health Protection Act.” This bill, if passed, would override nearly all federal and state laws restricting abortion, including late-term bans.

To read the letter CWALAC sent to the Senate, click here.

Israel Resolution: Thursday night, the Senate passed, by unanimous consent, S.Res.498. This resolution supported Israel’s right to defend itself against current rocket attacks by the terrorist group, Hamas. It also called for President Abbas to break his recent unification with the terrorist group.


Senate Update: June 13, 2014

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Support for Israel: This week, Sens. Ben Cardin (D-Maryland) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) circulated a bipartisan letter addressed to President Obama highlighting the June 2 Palestinian Authority government unity with Hamas. This new government unity is deeply concerning as Hamas has carried out deadly acts against Israel and is categorized as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, Canada, and Australia.

Responding to this matter of “grave concern,” 88 senators across the political spectrum signed on to this letter, urging the President to impress on President Abbas, the president of the unity, the need to cease any alliance with Hamas and return to the negotiating table with Israel.  “Any assistance (to the Palestinian Authority),” the senators write, “should only be provided when we have confidence that this new government is in full compliance with the restrictions contained in current law.”  CWALAC applauds the bold statement made by these 88 senators and stands alongside their action as we all stand together with Israel.

Senate Update: June 6, 2014

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Free Speech: S. J. Res. 19, a resolution that seeks to alter the First Amendment, was brought before the Senate Judiciary Committee in a hearing this past Tuesday. This hotly debated legislation, introduced by Sen. Tom Udall (D-New Mexico), would amend the United States Constitution and dramatically stifle free speech in the political arena. Revising the Constitution in this manner would sanction more “top-down” control and, in turn, manipulate the election process by limiting political fundraising, spending, and contributions.  Further, by specifically enumerating and protecting the “freedoms of the press,” this act discounts our other vital freedoms of religion, assembly, petition, etc.

During the Judiciary Committee hearing attended by CWALAC staff, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) spoke out in defense of the First Amendment and against this resolution, pointing to the Bill of Rights as a set of precious freedoms derived from our Creator and enumerated by our Founding Fathers. Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) also spoke out against this imposing bill, calling it a “scandalous” act.  Likewise, CWALAC reacted and sent to each Member on the Judiciary Committee a score letter stating our strong OPPOSITION to this resolution.

Take Action: Please come alongside Sens. Cruz, Grassley, and McConnell and the CWALAC team and urge your senator to strike down S. J. Res. 19!