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Legislative Update for October 11, 2013

By October 11, 2013Legislative Updates
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Congress started the week operating in a government shutdown and finished by sitting down with the president to discuss options that both sides hope will move the government out of a shutdown and into debt limit talks.


Over the weekend, CWALAC urged Members of Congress to support military service members and their families to ensure that they were able to attend religious services during the shutdown that were previously available.We became aware that some contract priests, who were paid by the federal government as independent contractors in places where there weren’t enough active-duty priests to meet service member needs, were being forbidden from serving, even on a volunteer basis.CWALAC was one of the first groups to support this legislation, and it passed nearly unanimously.

The House continues to try to fund the government piecemeal, seeking to show the American people that they want to reopen the government and ObamaCare is the one controversial item.During the 2nd week of the shutdown, the House has voted to pay “essential employees” who are working during the shutdown, furloughed federal employees, and fund Headstart, the Food and Drug Administration, and Homeland Security.

Thankfully, one funding bill the House considered this week did pass the Senate and was signed by President Obama.This legislation ensured that death benefits will go to families of fallen soldiers during the shutdown.

During the week, we met with House and Senate leadership staff, and there was some discussion about the possibility of the House voting to increase the debt limit for six weeks to give Congress the opportunity to continue to debate the issues surrounding government funding.CWALAC has continued to advocate for maintaining spending cuts and caps, not increasing the debt limit unless equal cuts are made for every dollar the limit is increased, and requiring Congress to address the problems surrounding the untenable ObamaCare law through repealing it, defunding it, or delaying it.

Outside the shutdown and debt limit debate, there is little other legislative business.We were pleased to support a bill that Rep. Chris Smith (R-New Jersey) introduced on Wednesday, the Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act of 2013, that informs Americans as to whether or not they are paying for elective abortions under ObamaCare.


Military Death Benefits: Our military service men and women don’t stop doing their job abroad just because the government is shutdown. This week, as the result of poorly allocated funds by the administration, families of our fallen heroes weren’t allowed death benefits. Mercifully, despite Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nevada) consistent choice not to bring up House-passed piecemeal solutions to refund the government, the Senate finally put Americans first and passed through a bill to take care of our soldiers’ families. Once through the Senate, and despite previous adverse statements from the administration, President Obama did sign the bill.

Raising the Debt Limit: Friday afternoon Senate Republicans headed to the White House to discuss an end to the government shutdown and a possible raise in the debt ceiling. It is likely that Republicans will offer an alternative solution to that of Majority Leader Harry Reid’s, which was filed earlier this week. The plan is likely to include a temporary debt-ceiling increase and a continuing resolution to reopen the government for one year at sequestration levels.

Negotiations are likely to continue into the weekend.

Heres what some of your senators had to say this week:

Kelly Ayotte@KellyAyotte: On @WKBK — I will be going to the White House this AM w Senate Republicans. It’s time for all sides to come out of their trenches. (R-New Hampshire)

Senator Ted Cruz@SenTedCruz: Glad to see Senate act in bipartisan manner for death benefits to families of fallen soldiers. Now let’s fund VA, other vital govt services. (R-Texas)

Senator Roy Blunt@RoyBlunt: Sent a letter to Secy Hagel urging him to fulfill the sacred obligation to families of fallen soldiers. (R-Missouri)

Mike Lee@SenMikeLee: The #shutdown is introducing us to the abusive, partisan, unaccountable bureaucracy that, will soon be running America’s health care system. (R-Utah)

Tim Scott@SenatorTimScott: Congress hasn’t passed all 12 appropriation budget bills since 1997-Jumping from crisis to crisis is no way to govern (R-South Carolina)