Legislation Update as of December 7

By December 13, 2010LAC Hot Topics/Alerts
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A few victories to celebrate

On December 2, the House passed H.R. 4853, a bill to extend the Bush tax cuts for only the middle class, by a vote of 234-188.Republicans slammed the bill and reiterated their stance that the tax cuts should be extended for all Americans.

As anticipated, the Senate voted against H.R. 4853 on Saturday, December 4. The Baucus amendment would have extended unemployment insurance for a year, extended many provisions contained in the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cut legislation, and increased taxes on small business owners and families with incomes of greater than $250,000. This failed to garner the needed 60 votes (53-36) with four Democrats and one Independent joining the Republicans [Russ Feingold (D-Wisconsin), Joe Lieberman (I-Connecticut), Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia), Ben Nelson (D-Nebraska) and Jim Webb (D-Virginia)] and 11 Republicans not voting.

Additionally, the Senate voted on a Schumer amendment which would have extended the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cut legislation to those making less than $1 million. This vote also failed to reach the 60-vote mark (53-37).

The Minority Leader, Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky), was able to keep the Republican caucus mostly together (11 Republicans did not vote) to ensure that all Americans receive a tax cut during this tough economic time.

It appears President Obama and Republicans have reached a bipartisan agreement to extend the Bush tax cuts for two more years (including a compromise on the death tax) and we are waiting to see when and if the Congressional Democrat leadership will bring this to the floor for a vote.We will provide additional updates as we gather more information.

When Congress returned from their Thanksgiving break, we learned that the House was going to vote on the Women Veterans Bill of Rights.Concerned Women for America (CWA) was one of the first organizations to notify our friends on the Hill about our pro-life concerns with this bill.

The language in this bill included a right to coordinated, comprehensive, primary womens health care, at every Department of Veterans Affairs medical facility.The term primary womens health care is often used by liberals to include abortions, and CWA raised this concern to representatives.

We played an instrumental role in resolving pro-life concerns with the Women Veterans Bill of Rights before it passed the House by voice vote.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee has scheduled and postponed a vote several times on the International Violence Against Women Act (IVAWA), S. 2982, most recently this week.CWAs efforts have been partially credited with this bill being stopped in Committee.

While we are deeply concerned about violence against women and children around the world, S. 2982 is not the solution.It is imperative when dealing with cases of abuse that we get to the root of the problem and strengthen families and husbands as protectors of their families, not abusers. What is sorely overlooked in IVAWA is that marriage and the family are undervalued.

The Senate, and possibly the House, will vote this week on a new version of the DREAM Act (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act).

This legislation would essentially reward those who break the laws of the United States it would give children of illegal immigrants an opportunity to earn their citizenship by working toward a college degree or military service.

Already in the Senate, several versions of this legislation which the Judiciary Committee has not vetted have been introduced.The committee has also had no opportunity to fully consider the ramifications of this ill-conceived legislation.Please call your Senators and Representatives today at 202-224-3121 and urge them to oppose the Dream Act.

The Defense Authorization bill with the controversial amendments to repeal the 1993 law prohibiting homosexuals from serving openly in the military and to repeal the ban on abortions on military installations here and abroad is still a possibility during this lame duck session.

CWA is seeking to have the DOD Authorization bill stripped of the controversial amendments.Please call your Senators at 202-224-3121 and ask them to oppose the Defense Authorization if these amendments are not removed.

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