As the end of July quickly approaches, there is a sense that Congress is desperately looking for the light at the end of the tunnel, otherwise known as the August recess.The House of Representatives says it will begin its recess the very first week of August, while there is speculation that the Senate will work the first week of August before heading out.
It is no surprise that it remains almost impossible to predict what legislation might be considered before the November elections.Some of our Hill friends speculate that the Democrats want to wait until after the November elections (and possible loss of their majority in the House) to begin a lame duck session in which to try to push through all of their legislative wish list before handing over power.
For instance, this week Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee (CWALAC) staff was told by some congressional staffers that the Defense Authorization could be taken up in September, while others contemplate this legislation passing during a lame duck post-election session.As we reported last week, the Defense Authorization bill is rife with rewards to liberal supporters of the administration namely the Burris amendment to allow abortions on domestic and international military facilities, and the amendment to repeal the 1993 law disallowing homosexuals from serving openly in the military.
In the meantime, for more resources please visit our Stop Harming Our Troops (S.H.O.T.) Web page at http://concernedwomen.org/articles/19124/CFI/nation/index.htm.
The following issues, however, will likely happen before the August recess:
Supreme Court Nominee Elena Kagan:
The Senate Judiciary Committee met on Tuesday, July 20, to hold a vote on Elena Kagan.Her nomination passed 13-6.All 12 Democrats on the committee voted for her, as did Republican Senator Lindsey Graham (South Carolina).The other Republicans on the committee wisely voted against her.
As we mentioned earlier, CWALAC joined with other conservatives to participate in local press conferences in Nebraska, Arkansas, and South Carolina to oppose Kagans nomination. We sent alerts and postcards to our members in these states urging them to contact Senators Ben Nelson (D-Nebraska), Blanche Lincoln (D-Arkansas), Mark Pryor (D-Arkansas), and Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) to ask them to oppose Kagans nomination.We also highlighted Kagans background as a liberal activist and, in particular, her actions in the Clinton Administration, as e-mails and handwritten memos have surfaced that show Kagan pressuring the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) to change its scientific position on partial-birth abortion. CWALAC delivered 200,000 petitions opposing the nomination to key Senate committee members.
While disappointed that the Senate Judiciary Committee passed her nomination, CWALAC will continue to highlight her disturbing record before a vote is held in the full Senate.We anticipate the vote on Kagans nomination the first week of August, just before the Senate recesses.
Barney Frank (D-Massachusetts) remains determined to undermine and render void the 1996 law known as UIGEA (Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act).Once again, he has introduced legislation to legalize and regulate Internet gambling at the federal level.In other words, the federal government would be able to tax Internet gambling and pocket major tax revenues from the harmful practice.
The two bills being discussed by the House Financial Services Committee this week are H.R. 2267, the Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection, and Enforcement Act, and its companion legislation, H.R. 4976, the Internet Gambling Regulation and Tax Enforcement Act of 2010.These bills would usher in the largest expansion of gambling in American history, a policy that would inflict major social damages on American families.
In 2006, Congress chose to combat, rather than encourage, gambling by enacting the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA).After several delays in the implementation of this law delays primarily orchestrated by foreign Internet gambling interests the UIGEA regulations took effect on June 1, 2010.Passage of H.R. 2267 and H.R. 4976 would abruptly reverse this course, trading UIGEAs commitment to protecting American citizens for tax revenue that depends on the exploitation of those citizens.
On July 21, 2010, CWALAC staff attended a House Financial Services Committee hearing on Internet gambling.As the hearing proceeded, it became obvious that the issue has formed some strange alliances.Pro-family groups such as CWALAC, Indian casino employees, and homeland security experts oppose Rep. Franks bill, while some libertarian groups, business groups, and credit union groups support the bill. Democrats and representatives on the House Financial Services Committee are also taking interesting sides, as Rep. Joe Baca (D-California) opposes the legislation on concerns about American jobs and security for minors, while Rep. John Campbell (R-California) enthusiastically supports the bill and says, freedoms not about allowing what I want people to do.
The bill will likely be marked up in the House Financial Services Committee the last week in July, so CWALAC will continue to try to build both Democrat and Republican opposition.
Pro-Life Amendment Introduced by Representative Todd Tiahrt (R-Kansas)
On July 15, 2010, the House Appropriations Labor, HHS, and Education Subcommitee marked up the fiscal appropriations for Fiscal Year 2011.Representative Tiahrt, who has been a champion for conservative issues, introduced an amendment in the subcommittee to reinstate the pro-life Stupak/Pitts amendmentwithin ObamaCare.
The Stupak/Pitts Amendment restricts federally-funded abortions and strengthens conscience protections for health care providers.The amendment was a key battle during the health care debate earlier this year.It eventually lost when the formerly pro-life Rep. Stupak (D-Michigan) caved to presidential pressure and traded his vote for a worthless executive order.
The Democrat-led committee defeated the Tiahrt amendment on a party-line vote of 11-5.Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), who poses as a pro-life Democrat, had the gall to vote against this crucial amendment.