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On the Horizon: Week of August 2

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The end of July is now here, and the House of Representatives will recess today.The Senate is set to work another week before recessing the first week of August.

Project 535 Volunteer Lobby Day:

A group of Concerned Women for America (CWA) volunteers from around the country, as well as a group of students from Students for Life of America (SFLA), spent July 28 in the House of Representatives.The morning began with a legislative briefing on Ella, the new abortion drug that a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory panel just approved and that the FDA might rush through the approval process without significant research on the harm that the drug inflicts upon women and unborn children.CWA President Wendy Wright and Amanda Lahr, a Legislative Assistant for Representative Joe Pitts (R-Pennsylvania), briefed the group on the importance of raising awareness in Congress about this abortion drug.

The volunteers spent the day meeting with offices, educating them on Ella, and asking members of the House to sign on to a letter instigated by Rep. Pitts to ask the FDA to do more research on Ella and address unanswered questions that Congress had asked months ago.Volunteers reported that they were shocked at how many offices were not familiar with Ella, and we are happy to report that, because of the efforts of the volunteers, several representatives signed on to the letter.

Supreme Court Nominee Elena Kagan: 

The Senate Judiciary Committee met on July 20 to hold a vote on Elena Kagan.Her nomination was passed 13-6.All 12 Democrats on the committee voted for her, as did Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina).The other Republicans on the committee voted against her.

Kagans nomination will likely be taken up by the entire Senate next week, and, as of now, four Republicans have declared that they will vote for her.Those four are: Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), and Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Indiana).

CWA staff is still meeting with offices to get a sense of how many No votes there will be when the vote is taken (most likely next week), and we are still fighting this nominee on account of her dangerous judicial activist philosophy and disregard for the Constitution.We will continue to highlight 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 position on partial-birth abortion.  

Internet Gambling:

Rep. Barney Frank (D-Massachusetts) remains determined to undermine and render void the 1996 law known as UIGEA (Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act).

This week, the House Financial Services Committee marked up and voted on H.R. 2267, the Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection, and Enforcement Act.As we have reported, this bill would usher in the largest expansion of gambling in American history, a policy that would inflict major social damage on American families.

Sadly, the House Financial Services Committee passed the legislation on a vote of 41-22.Republicans such as Ranking Member Spencer Bachus (R-Alabama) and Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) spoke out on the concerns of legalizing such a harmful activity and making it easily accessible to minors.CWA sent a letter up to the Hill this week thanking Rep. Bachus especially, as he spoke up several times in the Internet gambling hearing and voiced the concerns of CWA and pro-family organizations about the legislation.

Since the House of Representatives is now in recess, it is uncertain if or when the Internet gambling bill will be taken up on the House floor.

This week, Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nevada) called for a cloture vote, a procedural motion to advance legislation, on the DISCLOSE Act.CWA continued to meet with offices and voice concerns about the legislation and its intention to undermine the Supreme Courts ruling in the Citizens United case and force organizations to release personal information about their members and place them in harms way.We raised the issue that after Prop 8 in California, when the information of individuals who supported traditional marriage was released, homosexual activists targeted them at their churches, work places, and homes.

Democrats were not able to get the 60 votes that they needed, and the cloture vote failed on the Senate floor.There were 57 Yes votes, 41 No votes, and two senators who did not vote.Some on the Hill speculate that Democrats took this vote to portray Republicans as obstructionists who do not want Congress to get legislation through the system.There is speculation that another vote will be held in the future.