Ukraine: Last Friday, the House passed a bill to provide the Administration with the authority to extend loan guarantees to the government in Ukraine. This week, the House passed a bill that expressed support for the people of Ukraine and their territorial integrity. Both bills passed with overwhelming bipartisan support.
Executive Overreach: This week the House passed a couple of bills that would try to rein in the Administration. The first requires the Administration to report to Congress when it decides not to execute the laws of the land. The second gives Congress a way to sue the Executive branch for failure to faithfully execute the laws. Although President Obama has issued a veto threat, it is unlikely that these bills will reach his desk because Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nevada) is not likely to bring them up for a vote in the Senate.
Air Force: This week, the Air Force Academy forced a cadet to remove a Bible verse posted on a cadet’s whiteboard after receiving a complaint from Mikey Weinstein at the Military Religious Freedom Foundation. The whiteboards are for personal as well as business purposes. At a House Armed Services Committee hearing that was supposed to focus on budget issues, Reps. John Fleming (R-Louisiana), Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado), Michael Turner (R-Ohio), Mike McIntyre (D-North Carolina), Randy Forbes (R-Virginia), and Michael Conaway (R-Texas) expressed concerns and questioned Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James and Air Force Chief of Staff General Mark Walsh about the incident.
Please call these representatives and thank them for their efforts to protect religious freedom in our military. Also, please watch for upcoming alerts on this issue.
John Fleming: 202-225-2777
Doug Lamborn: 202-225-4422
Michael Turner: 202-225-6465
Mike McIntyre: 202-225-2731
Randy Forbes: 202-225-6365
Michael Conaway: 202-225-3605
Senate focus this week was on a bill to extend aid to the Ukraine. During the bill’s markup in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, there were talks of adding provisions that would have, if passed, saved First Amendment rights for groups who are in danger of the administration’s proposed International Revenue Service (IRS) rule.
Click here for more information on the proposed IRS rule.
Despite the IRS provision being non-germane, or non-relevant to the topic of the bill, conservatives tried to negotiate one of their top priorities in exchange for Democrats offering one of their priorities, International Monetary Fund (IMF) provisions.
As of Friday, the IRS protections were not added, but the IMF provisions were advancing. Those opposed to the provisions highlight concerns with national sovereignty, while Secretary of State John Kerry urged Congress to approve reforms to the IMF.
Currently, the decision to add IMF is slowing down any effort of congressional assistance to the Ukraine during this crucial time with Russia. The Senate is expected to vote on an aid bill as soon as it returns from recess.
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Next week the Senate will be out of session.