Tag Archives: senate

#NDAA TwitterBomb Monday Night

Today – Monday, January 30, 2012 – starting at 7pm Eastern, Twitter users are encouraged to participate in a “TwitterBomb” for the National Defense Authorization Act or NDAA.

The NDAA allows for the unlawful, indefinite detention of American citizens, and has been mostly ignored by the media and politicians.  Only two Presidential candidates oppose this unconstitutional bill: Ron Paul & Buddy Roemer.

Looking at the image to the right,coming from Google Trends, the top column is the frequency a topic is searched, and the bottom column is the frequency the topic is discussed in the news.

Monday night, we implore you to Google search every thing you possibly can about NDAA, and then post it and share it to your Facebook & Twitter accounts with the hashtag #NDAA – or, if possible, write out “National Defense Authorization Act” completely.

Search YouTube (owned by Google), where you can find videos by Jon Stewart and many, many others who have voiced their opposition towards the bill.  Post and share these videos repeatedly on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media sites.  The American People succeeded in killing SOPA (Is ACTA Worse?), now let’s kill the #NDAA.

“It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people’s minds.” ~Samuel Adams~

 

Congress To Attempt Self Policing… Really!

Would you trust your 7 year old child to “self-regulate” their sugar intake the day after Halloween?  Just leave your child with a gigantic bowl of candy, and tell them to use their own discretion.  Sounds ridiculous doesn’t it?  Members of Congress are now claiming that they will try something akin to that.

Congress doesn’t have a sugar intake problem, it has an insider trading problem.

With this issue recently brought to light, FoxNews reports:

Insider trading laws apply to all Americans, but CBS’ “60 Minutes” in November said members of Congress get a pass, citing investment transactions by party leaders and a committee chairman in businesses about to be affected by pending legislation.

The broadcast report raised questions about trades of House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio; the husband of Democratic leader and former Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California; and Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Ala., chairman of the House Financial Services Committee.

All three denied using any insider information to make stock trades, but the broadcast set off a flurry of efforts in Washington to deal with the public perception.

Due to the revelations from the “60 Minutes” story, the Senate will take up legislation that will prevent Congress members from using information that is “nonpublic” for their personal gain.  As expected, the bill has your typical Congressional Acronym to identify its purpose:  The STOCK Act, standing for Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge.

A procedural vote is scheduled for today that would allow this bill, which is endorsed by the President, to see a floor vote later in the week.

Debt Ceiling Debate: Round 2

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Congress is fresh off the ‘Great Debt Debate of 2011′, and wasting no time in kicking off Round 2 of this fight.  Today, the US Senate rejected a bill that would have prevented raising the Debt Ceiling by another $1.2 Trillion.

History of US Debt Ceiling

CNN.com has reported:

A procedural motion to move forward with the bill was rejected in a largely party-line 44-52 vote. The measure, approved by the GOP-controlled House of Representatives last week, had little chance of either passing Congress or surviving a certain presidential veto. It was considered a largely symbolic gesture on the part of Republicans.

So we shall keep our eyes and ears on the Congress, the President, and the GOP Candidates for President to see how this will wind up.

Senator Kirk Faces Long Journey After Stroke

United States Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) suffered a stroke on January 21st.  He told an internist that he was “seeing white flecks, numbness in his left arm and unusual sensations in his left leg”.

 

Kirk underwent a successful three-hour surgery to remove a piece of his skull to relieve the pressure on his brain.   However, Dr. Richard Fessler’s was prognosis on a recovery was mixed.

 

When Dr. Fessler was asked about Senator Kirk making a full mental recovery, Fessler stated there was a “good probability” of it.  However, the prospect of a full physical recovery was “not good”

Fessler said the stroke will affect Kirk’s “ability to move his left arm, possibly his left leg and possibly will involve some facial paralysis. Fortunately, the stroke was not on the left side of his brain, in which case it would affect his ability to speak, understand and think.”

Dr. Fessler said the cause of the stroke was ” tearing of a carotid artery that stopped blood flow to the right side of his brain, leading to an ischemic stroke”

Source: http://t-j.cc/xhqJZe

Sen. Nelson to retire – democrat majority in question

On Tuesday senator Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) will announce his retirement from Congress which may make it even more difficult for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to hold on to the majority he has enjoyed for so long.

Nelson’s seat was already in trouble as republicans have mounted a successful campaign for his challenger Attorney General Jim Bruning.

Senator Nelson has faced opposition from the right and left as this Facebook page solicits “$100 for Ben Nelson’s Opponent” because “he might as well be a republiken[sic].”

With low favorability ratings, the Democrats hold on the Senate was already going to be tenuous. Harry Reid’s close ties to a very unpopular President Obama are not much help for those Senators seeking re-election.

House and Senate pass 2-month Social Security Revenue Cut

Using a procedure known as unanimous consent, the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives passed the 2-month payroll tax holiday that President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid have been demanding.

The procedure makes it possible to pass legislation without a quorum present in the chamber. The legislation passes as long as not one single member raises an objection to the legislation. This allows passage without having members fly back to Washington D.C.

The bill is now set to be signed by the President so that he can meet his family who is already vacationing in Hawaii.

 

House Rejects Senate's 2 Month Payroll Tax Cut Extension

The fight continues this Tuesday as the House of Representatives voted down the Senates 2 month payroll tax cut extension. It would have extended the tax cut and unemployment benefits for two months. Passing 229 to 193, the vote calls for a negotiating committee for the two chambers to resolve their differences. Seven Republicans joined Democrats in opposition.

Republicans say the 2 month extension leaves Americans in the dark during a time of bleak economic uncertainty and that it would leave Congress facing the same issue early next year. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said “Middle-class Americans and working families need to know that their taxes won’t be going up at any point next year”. Rep. Lynn Jenkins stated “Handling tax policy on a month-to-month basis isn’t just irresponsible, it’s downright crazy”. He also questioned how dealing with this issue in February would be any easier than it is now.

Democratic Representative Nancy Pelosi felt it easier to blame “the extreme Tea Party element of the Republicans in the House”. She said “They’ve never wanted a tax cut, and now they’re saying the tax cut for middle-income people is too small”. Sen. Charles Schumer, in a statement Monday night, accused the House Speaker of age old tactics used by both parties saying “Speaker Boehner is using one of the oldest tricks in Washington of claiming to support something and then sending it to a legislative graveyard where it never sees the light of day”.

If a deal is not reached by the end of the year, hard working Americans would see their payroll taxes go back to 6.2% of earnings, from the current 4.2% rate.

Senate vs The House Over Payroll Tax Cut

As it stands, Americans face the uncertainty of whether or not they will be giving more of their money to federal government at the beginning of next year.

Earlier today Speaker Boehner said the House will block the Senate deal stating “A two-month extension creates uncertainty and will cause problems for people who are trying to create jobs in the private sector”. For the purpose of of reaching a potential compromise, Boehner suggested that House leaders meet with Senate leaders.”This is a vote on whether Congress will stay and do its work or go on vacation,” Boehner said. “I expect that the House will disagree with the Senate amendment and instead vote to formally go to conference – the formal process of which the House and Senate can resolve our differences between our two chambers and our two bills.” The bill will be sent instead to a bicameral conference committee.

A short time later Senator Reid responded saying House could either accept the bipartisan compromise or allow taxes to rise next month. “Senator McConnell and I negotiated a compromise at Speaker Boehner’s request” and that he would not reopen negotiations until the House passed the Senate extension.

 

Senate Passes Spending Bill – Obama Signs

Saturday the Congress voted 67-32 to pass  a $1 trillion dollar spending bill averting, yet again, another government shutdown. The bill was quickly signed by the President

All was not happy news for either side of the aisle, or the White House, as Congress could only agree to extend the payroll tax cut for 2 months. As Senators scrambled to get home after the vote the President said “It would be inexcusable for Congress not to further extend this middle class tax cut for the rest of the year”. Economist say it would be unwise not the extend to cuts through year considering the U.S. slow recovering economy and the current European debt crisis.

Associated Press Video

The bill now returns to the House as they must address the 2 month extension. A House Republican aide said members were “overwhelmingly disappointed in the Senate’s decision to just kick the can down the road for two months.”  Congressmen spoke by telephone with some members and a few options were discussed. Those include accepting the Senate bill or amending it and sending it back to the Senate.

The bad news extends further to new or refinancing homeowners as they will foot the bill for the tax cut.  New fees attached to mortgages backed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Housing Administration will cover the cost. Fox News reported ” the mortgage fee provision would have widespread long-term impact, considering nine out of 10 mortgages go through one of the three government-sponsored finance organizations affected. The new fee increase would amount to about $15 a month more for a $200,000 mortgage, according to a senior Democratic official.  That’s $180 a year, or $360 a year for a $400,000 mortgage. Homeowners would have the fee hike built into their loan — the mortgage provider would then send that extra revenue to the Treasury.

The 1,200-page bill funds day-to-day operations of hundreds of government programs across 10 Cabinet agencies and sets the budgets for Education, Treasury, State, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security and Labor, among other agencies.

 

 

 

 

 

Short-Term Payroll Tax Cut Extension Passes In Senate

On Saturday the Senate agreed overwhelmingly 89-10 to pass a two month payroll tax cut extension. The short term deal is a result of the inability Democrats and Republicans to agree on how to fund a long term extension. Also agreed on was to extend long-term unemployment benefits for another two months. The legislation will be returned to House and be voted on next week. If passed, it will be sent to Obama for his signature.

Fox News reported “Final passage would mean American families would continue to enjoy a 2 percentage point cut from their Social Security tax. In addition, weekly jobless payments averaging about $300 for millions of people who have been out of work for six months or more would be continued.”

In the bill is a provision opposes by Obama which attempts to speed the implementation of the controversial Keystone pipeline. It forces him to make a decision within 60 days. “Here’s the single largest shovel-ready project in America,” Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said on Saturday. “It is literally ready to go with the permission of the President of the United States.”

The recent developments are a result of the President withdrawing his threat to vote the bill. Even though a White House statement made no mention of the pipeline provision.  One White House official said Obama most likely would not grant a permit to begin the pipeline.

Later Saturday the Senate is expected to finish voting on a $915 billion bill to keep many U.S. government agencies operating through next September. The House of Representatives passed this measure on Friday.

Senate Approves Defense Bill – Awaits President's Signature

By a vote of 86-13, the Senate voted to approve the $662 Billion Defense spending bill. It passed keeping language allowing for the indefinite detention of suspected terrorist by the military.

For weeks the White House said it would veto the  bill unless the language pertaining to detention was changed. According to Fox News, there were two provisions that caused the most controversy.

“One would require military custody for foreign terrorist suspects linked to Al-Qaeda or its affiliates and involved in plotting or attacking the United States. The suspects could be transferred to civilian custody for trial, and the president would have final say on determining how the transfer would occur. Under pressure from Obama and his national security team, lawmakers added language that says nothing in the bill may be “construed to affect the existing criminal enforcement and national security authorities of the Federal Bureau of Investigation or any other domestic law enforcement agency with regard to a covered person, regardless whether such covered person is held in military custody.”

The attorney general, in consultation with the defense secretary, would decide on whether to try the individual in federal court or by military tribunal. The president could waive the entire requirement based on national security.

The second provision would deny suspected terrorists, including U.S. citizens seized within the nation’s borders, the right to trial and subject them to indefinite detention. It reaffirms the post-Sept. 11 authorization for the use of military force that allows indefinite detention of enemy combatants.”

The bill authorizes money for military personnel, weapons, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and national security programs in the Energy Department.

Also decided were tough sanctions aimed at Iran because of their nuclear program. Pakistan as well, to ensure that no transportation and building of improvised explosive devices (IEDs)  is taking place.

One not so covered aspect of the bill gives the National Guard a seat on the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Fulfilling a pledge Obama made when campaigning to become president.

The Senate has sent the bill to the President for his signature.

Senate Votes To Keep Indefinite Detention Provision In Military Bill

FILE - In this June 27, 2006 file photo, reviewed by a US Department of Defense official, U.S. military guards walk within Camp Delta military-run prison, at the Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base, Cuba. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, File)

Earlier today the Senate voted to keep a provision in S.1253 National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 which would give the President authority, using the military, to indefinitely detain suspected terror suspects. This includes not only oversees, but in the United States, to include American citizens.  The provision’s sponsors are Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain and Michigan Democratic Sen. Carl Levin.

Colorado Democratic Sen. Mark Udall proposes an amendment to the bill that was intended to remove the detainment provision. It was defeated by a vote of 61-37. In a column written for the Washington Post, Udall made the following argument:

“For example, the provisions would require the military to dedicate a significant number of personnel to capturing and holding terrorism suspects — in some cases indefinitely — even those apprehended on U.S. soil. And they authorize the military to do so regardless of an accused terrorist’s citizenship, even if he or she is an American captured in a U.S. city.”

It was reported that Senator Rand Paul (R. – KY.) and Senator John McCain had an exchange regarding the provision, in which Paul made the following comment: “Should we err today and remove some of the most important checks on state power in the name of fighting terrorism, well then the terrorists have won. [D]etaining American citizens without a court trial is not American.”. To which McCain responded with “Facts are stubborn things. If the senator from Kentucky wants to have a situation prevail where people who are released go back into the fight to kill Americans he is entitled to his opinion.”

The White House has threatened to veto the bill over the provision claiming it will hamper current efforts of “counter-terrorism professionals, including our military commanders, intelligence professionals, seasoned counter-terrorism prosecutors, or other operatives in the field” . In addition, FBI, Pentagon, and the Director of National Intelligence have all criticized the legislation.

 

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