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Legislative Update for January 18, 2013

By January 18, 2013Legislative Updates
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The Senate was out of session but returns with a vengeance.The House was briefly in session before the Republican Conference had its retreat in Williamsburg, Virginia.


Budget: The administration has indicated that, as of February 15, the federal government will be unable to meet its financial obligations unless the debt ceiling is raised.Congress and this president must be held accountable for the runaway spending that is going to plague our children and grandchildren.

Recently, our deficit has reached over $16 trillion.American families must follow a budget, and it is time for our government to also act responsibly.If Americans maxed out their credit cards and could not meet their minimum payments, their houses would be repossessed.Regrettably, when the government maxes out its expenditures, it prints more money and keeps on borrowing.

We need to call on Congress not to raise the debt ceiling unless we get our nation back on a sound fiscal track to balance the budget within 10 years and then require it to stay balanced (the strongest way to guarantee it stays balanced is a Balanced Budget Amendment).

And we need to ensure that Congress doesn’t balance the budget by maintaining its current spending and simply raising taxes on Americans and small businesses.We need Congress to pass budgets that balance each and every year.

Take Action Now:Call your representative and senators and ask them to tie an increase in the debt ceiling with a Balanced Budget Amendment and a path towards a balanced budget in the next 10 years.


Filibuster: On January 22, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) will likely attempt to change Senate rules to guarantee the minority voice (Republicans) in the Senate is silenced.

You may be asking, “What is a filibuster?” It is a parliamentary procedure where debate on a piece of legislation is extended, allowing members to delay or prevent a vote from taking place. This is significant, because it slows down the legislative process and allows for the Senate to maintain its original intent – that of being the body that moves more slowly and more deliberately and ensures the checks and balances system.With this tool, most pieces of legislation require a 60-vote threshold to pass. This guarantees that more than a simple majority of senators support or oppose the measure that is being brought up.

So, what’s the problem? Sen. Reid wants to break Senate rules to change the rules. In 1975, the Senate revised its cloture rule so that three-fifths of the senators sworn in could limit debate, except on voting to change Senate rules, which requires a two-thirds vote to invoke cloture. Historically, the majority in the Senate has preferred to avoid filibusters, because it keeps them from quickly passing legislation. But the minority relies on the filibuster in order to be heard. It is because he is in the majority that Sen. Harry Reid wants to undo the filibuster; in 2005 he made the following statement about changing the filibuster rule, “Ultimately, this is about removing the last check in Washington against complete abusive power.”

Click here to view CWALAC’s letter of opposition to the “Nuclear Option.”

Take Action: Call your senators now and tell them to vote against the “Nuclear Option.” Click here to find your senators.

Nomination: On January 31, the Senate Armed Services Committee will hold a hearing of confirmation for former Senator Chuck Hagel to be the next Secretary of Defense. If passed through the committee, Hagel’s confirmation will send a message to the world. This message will be in regards to America’s national security, and it will be one of weakness and not strength.

For more information click here to read CWALAC’s letter to the Senate.

Take Action:The senators below need to hear from you! Each one sits on the Senate Armed Services Committee.Please call them and tell them to oppose the Hagel Nomination.

Mark Udall (D-Colorado) – 202-224- 5941

Kay R. Hagan (D-North Carolina) – 202-224-6342

Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia) – 202-224- 3954

Kristen Gillibrand (D-New York) – 202-224- 4451

James Inhofe (R-Oklahoma) – 202-224- 4721

John McCain (R-Arizona) – 202-224-2235

Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama) – 202-224-4124

Saxby Chambliss (R-Georgia) – 202-224-3521

Kelly Ayotte (R-New Hampshire) – 202-224-3324

Deb Fischer (R-Nebraska) – 202-224-6551

Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) – 202-224-5972

David Vitter (R-Louisiana) – 202-224-4623