Friday, July 31, 2020

Life issues in the H.R. 7617 Appropriations Minibus

This afternoon, the House of Representatives passed by a vote of 217-197 the appropriations omnibus H.R. 7617, the Defense, Commerce, Justice, Science, Energy and Water Development, Financial Services and General Government, Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Act, 2021.

The bill contains several provisions that attack longstanding pro-life protections and seek to undermine pro-life executive actions.

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Why we need to ask more questions about China

During a special order series of speeches on Friday, Rep. Louie Gohmert spoke about China's efforts to weaken the United States through the media.

He read from an article, “The ‘United Front’ – How China Has Co-opted The U.S. Media” by Charles “Sam” Faddis.
“Perhaps even more insidious than the obvious efforts of the Confucius Institutes to mold the thinking of both students and professors at institutions of higher learning across the Nation, however, are the direct inroads the Chinese Communist Party has made into the so-called mainstream media in this country. Armed with massive amounts of cash and leveraging the lure of the Chinese market, the CCP has, in essence, bought the voices of much of the ‘free press.’

“‘You often see representatives from American companies with financial ties to China naturally become defenders of the CCP's policies and spreading the CCP's propaganda’…”

You have even seen that in professional sports right here in the U.S.

“Most of the major American media outlets are owned by parent companies. These companies all have significant business interests inside China. They are dependent on Chinese goodwill and the approval of the Chinese Government to safeguard those interests.

Saturday, July 25, 2020

House Committee Schedule

MondayJuly 27, 2020

Online Platforms and Market Power, Part 6: Examining the Dominance of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google
Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial, and Administrative Law (Committee on the Judiciary)

• H.R. 7617 — Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2021 [Defense, Commerce, Justice, Science, Energy and Water Development, Financial Services and General Government, Homeland Security, Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development Appropriations Act, 2021]
Committee on Rules

Source: House.gov

House Floor Schedule

From the floor colloquy:
Madam Speaker, I will say that on Monday, the House will meet at 9 a.m. for morning-hour debate and 10 a.m. for legislative business, with votes expected to occur, Madam Speaker, approximately 12 p.m.

On Tuesday, the House will not be in session as we pay respect to Congressman John Lewis while he lies in state.

On Wednesday, the House will meet at 9 a.m. for morning-hour debate and 10 a.m. for legislative business.

On Thursday, the House will meet at 9 a.m. for morning-hour debate and 10 a.m. for legislative business. Members are advised that votes on Thursday will be postponed until 6:30 p.m. I know that all Members would like to attend the funeral on Thursday of our brother and great Member and great American John Lewis, however, COVID–19 makes a small-group-only possible. And we will be returning, which is why votes will be delayed until the 6:30 hour.

On Friday, the House will meet at 9 a.m. for legislative business. Members are advised that last votes could occur later than 3 p.m.

We got out earlier today, and I want to congratulate our floor director, Shuwanza Goff, who got us a schedule that is working very, very well.

The suspension bills will be announced by the close of business today.

The House will consider two childcare bills.

Senate Committee Schedule

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Commerce, Science, and Transportation
Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet
Hearings to examine the PACT Act and Section 230, focusing on the impact of the law that helped create the internet and an examination of proposed reforms for today's online world.

Energy and Natural Resources
Hearings to examine the development and deployment of large-scale carbon dioxide management technologies in the United States, including technological and natural carbon removal, carbon utilization, and carbon storage.

Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
An oversight hearing to examine COVID-19 financial relief packages.

Judiciary
Subcommittee on Intellectual Property
Hearings to examine how the DMCA contemplates limitations and exceptions like fair use.

Finance
Hearings to examine protecting the reliability of the United States medical supply chain during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Senate Floor Schedule

Program for Monday: Senate resumes consideration of the nomination of William Scott Hardy, of Pennsylvania, to be United States District Judge for the Western District of Pennsylvania, and votes on confirmation thereon at 5:30 p.m.


Thursday, 7/23, Senate began consideration of the following:

Congressional Outlook

Committee Activity

Fed board pick Judy Shelton moves closer to confirmation

Spy chief John Ratcliffe willing to testify on world threats
“we should refrain from having open global threat assessment hearings”

Senate Holds Hearing on Countering Chinese Influence, Human-Rights Abuses

Post office concerns highlighted at Senate hearing on elections amid COVID-19

Senate Committee Moves to Ban TikTok From Government-Issued Devices

Tech CEO hearing looks to be postponed


Floor Outlook

McConnell announces 'agreement in principle' on new round of coronavirus aid

House to bring controversial Homeland Security bill to floor

Progressive Caucus chairs demand Democrats pull Homeland Security bill

Congress set for brawl as unemployment end looms

Congress Last Week

Weekly Digest of the Congressional Record


Senate Floor Activity Headlines

Senate Confirms Vought as White House Budget Chief

Senate rejects broad restrictions, chooses minimal new restrictions on weapons for law enforcement

Senate passes Defense policy bill

Senate passes bill to prevent debt collectors from garnishing stimulus checks


House Floor Activity Headlines

House holds moment of silence for John Lewis

House votes to curtail Insurrection Act powers

House passes bill to repeal travel ban

House votes to remove Confederate statues from Capitol

House sends bipartisan public lands bill to Trump for signature

Yoho apologizes after confrontation with Ocasio-CortezFloor Speech

On House Floor, Democratic Women Call Out Abusive Treatment by MenFloor Speeches

House sends four spending bills to Senate, defying Trump veto threat

Friday, July 24, 2020

Life issues in Fiscal Year 2021 Omnibus Approprations

This afternoon the House of Representatives passed H.R. 7608, which contains FY 2021 Appropriations for State, Foreign Operations; Agriculture; Interior; and Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, by a vote of 244 to 189.

The bill contains several provisions that attack longstanding pro-life policy or seek to undermine pro-life executive actions.


FY 2021 State, Foreign Operations Appropriations Text

weakens the Kemp-Kasten Amendment. The longstanding Kemp-Kasten Amendment restricts funds from organizations that the President determines support or participate in a coercive abortion program. President Trump has used the amendment to redirect funding away from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) due to the organization’s support of and participation in the management of China’s restrictive birth limitation policy.

undermines the Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance Policy (PLGHA). Implemented by President Trump in January 2017, PLGHA requires foreign nongovernmental organizations to agree, as a condition of their receipt of US grant money, not to promote or perform abortion. The bill prohibits funding from being used to implement PLGHA and permanently prevents it from being reinstated.

Saturday, July 18, 2020

House Committee Schedule

MondayJuly 20, 2020

Federal IT Modernization: How the Coronavirus Exposed Outdated Systems
Subcommittee on Government Operations (Committee on Oversight and Reform)

Source: House.gov


TuesdayJuly 21, 2020

"Pathway to a Vaccine: Efforts to Develop a Safe, Effective and Accessible COVID-19 — Vaccine" (Virtual Hearing)
Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations (Committee on Energy and Commerce)

Getting Veterans Back to Work After COVID-19
Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity (Committee on Veterans' Affairs)

Legislative hearing on H.R. 970, H.R. 4135, & H.R. 7550
Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands (Committee on Natural Resources)

An Overview of the Farmers to Families Food Box Program
Subcommittee on Nutrition, Oversight, and Department Operations (Committee on Agriculture)

Source: House.gov

House Floor Schedule

MONDAY, JULY 20TH
On Monday, the House will meet at 9:00 a.m. for morning hour and 10:00 a.m. for legislative business. First votes expected as early as 11:30 a.m.

Begin Consideration of H.R. 6395 - William M. (Mac) Thornberry National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 (Sponsored by Rep. Adam Smith / Armed Services Committee)

The Rule provides for One Hour of General Debate and makes in order 407 amendments.


TUESDAY, JULY 21ST
On Tuesday, the House will meet at 9:00 a.m. for morning hour and 10:00 a.m. for legislative business. Members are advised that first votes are expected to occur at approximately 10:30 a.m.

Complete Consideration of H.R. 6395 - William M. (Mac) Thornberry National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 (Sponsored by Rep. Adam Smith / Armed Services Committee)

Senate Committee Schedule

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Aging
Hearings to examine the COVID-19 pandemic and seniors, focusing on racial health disparities.

Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs
Hearings to examine the nominations of
Hester Maria Peirce, of Ohio, and Caroline A. Crenshaw, of the District of Columbia, both to be a Member of the Securities and Exchange Commission, and
Kyle Hauptman, of Maine, to be a Member of the National Credit Union Administration Board.

Finance
Hearings to examine the nominations of
Michael N. Nemelka, of Utah, to be a Deputy United States Trade Representative (Investment, Services, Labor, Environment, Africa, China, and the Western Hemisphere), with the rank of Ambassador, and
Christian N. Weiler, of Louisiana, and Alina I. Marshall, of Virginia, both to be a Judge of the United States Tax Court.

Foreign Relations
Hearings to examine the nominations of
Marshall Billingslea, of Virginia, to be Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security,
C. J. Mahoney, of Kansas, to be Legal Adviser, and
Carlos Trujillo, of Florida, to be an Assistant Secretary (Western Hemisphere Affairs), all of the Department of State.

Budget
Business meeting to consider the nomination of Derek Kan, of California, to be Deputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget.

Senate Floor Schedule

Program for Monday: Senate resumes consideration of the nomination of Russell Vought, of Virginia, to be Director of the Office of Management and Budget, and votes on confirmation thereon at 5:30 p.m.

Congressional Outlook

Committee Activity

Graham says he will call Mueller to testify before Senate panel about Russia probe

Senate GOP ramps up Burisma probe

'National security risk': Rubio seeks declassification of UFO secrets

Coronavirus committee demands DeVos clarify plan to cut funds from schools


Floor Outlook

House to vote next week on ridding Capitol of Confederate statues

Senate to begin debate on new coronavirus bill next week: McConnell

McConnell in talks with Mnuchin on next phase of coronavirus relief

An update on the next coronavirus bill: the two sides are still far apart

Pelosi willing to delay August recess to work on coronavirus relief

House to vote on creation of Smithsonian Latino museum

Congress Last Week

Weekly Digest of the Congressional Record


National Security

Concerns Emerge As Congress Moves to Hand Airport Security to Private Sector


Foreign Policy

China Sanctions Cruz, Rubio for Criticism of Human Rights Abuses

70 progressive groups call for next Foreign Affairs chair to reflect 'progressive realism'

Trump signs bill sanctioning China over Hong Kong security law

GOP lawmakers push amendment to rescind authority for troops in Afghanistan

House committee votes to restore congressional war powers authority


Constitution

California Rejected 100,000 Mail-In Ballots Because of Mistakes


Federal Spending

House panel advances health bill with $24B in emergency COVID-19 funds

Life-related issues in the Labor, Health and Human Services spending bill

Life-related issues in the Defense spending bill

Life-related issues in the Financial Services spending bill

SBA questioned about PPP funds to abortion providers

SBA questioned about PPP funds to abortion providers

The House Committee on Small Business held a hearing entitled, “Oversight of the Small Business Administration and Department of Treasury Pandemic Programs,” which included as witnesses Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Small Business Administration (SBA) Administrator Jovita Carranza.

During the hearing, Congressman Dan Bishop (R-NC) stated, “It is now widely known that abortion provider Planned Parenthood brazenly violated the law concerning business affiliation by taking $80 million of PPP loans via its affiliates. The American people want to know how the SBA failed to act in real time to prevent this wrongdoing and how it will act quickly to compel the return of those funds and prosecute those responsible.”

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Financial Services Appropriations Mark-Up

Today the House Committee on Appropriations passed the FY2021 Financial Services and General Government appropriations bill by a vote of 30 to 22.

Longstanding Pro-Life Protections Retained:
  • FEDERAL EMPLOYEE HEALTH BENEFITS—Programs Funding Ban (SMITH)—ban on funding of abortions through the Federal Employee Health Benefits (FEHB) program, except in the instances of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother.
  • FEHBP CONSCIENCE PROTECTION—conscience protections for health care personnel and providers
  • DC CONSCIENCE INTENT OF CONGRESS—intent of Congress that any DC imposed contraceptive mandate should include a conscience clause.

The bill altered the Dornan Amendment (also known as the D.C. Hyde Amendment), which prevents appropriated funds (federal or D.C. revenue) from paying for abortion in the District of Columbia by inserting the word “federal,” which would allow appropriated local funds to pay for abortion.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Defense Appropriations Mark-Up

Today, the House Committee on Appropriations passed the FY2021 Defense Appropriations bill by a vote of 30 to 22.

During committee consideration, Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) offered an amendment preventing TRICARE funding to entities that fail to exercise the proper degree of care in the case of a child who survives an abortion or attempted abortion.

The amendment requires that any health care practitioner present exercise the same care that would be given to any other child born alive at the same gestational age.

The practitioner must then ensure that the child is immediately transported to a hospital.

The amendment requires the funding recipient to certify that it has sufficient resources to comply with this requirement and that it has reporting requirements in place for any violation.

Monday, July 13, 2020

Labor, Health and Human Services Appropriations Mark-Up

In a full committee mark-up today, the House Committee on Appropriations passed the FY2021 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (LHHS) appropriations bill by a vote of 30 to 22.

Summary of Longstanding Pro-Life Language Retained:
  • Hyde Amendment: Prohibits federal funding of abortions, except in cases of rape, incest, or life of the mother.
  • Hyde-Weldon Amendment: Prevents HHS funding recipients from discriminating against health care entities because they refuse to provide, pay for, or refer for abortion.
  • Dickey-Wicker Amendment: Prevents federal funding of harmful human embryo research.
  • Abuse Reporting: Requires Title X grantees to comply with state reporting laws on child abuse, child molestation, sexual abuse, rape, or incest.
  • Medicare Advantage Conscience Protection: Ensures that health care entities in Medicare Advantage will not be discriminated against in state and federal programs if they refuse to provide abortions.

The bill also contains anti-life provisions including language eliminating the Title X (Protect Life) Rule, the Conscience Rule, and the Section 1557 Rule.

Saturday, July 11, 2020

House Committee Schedule

MondayJuly 13, 2020

FY2021 — Energy and Water Development, and Related Agencies, and Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bills
Committee on Appropriations

Legislative Hearing on H.R. 4345, H.R. 4840, H.R. 5458, H.R. 5459, H.R. 5472, H.R. 5852, H.R. 7098, & H.R. 7489
Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands (Committee on Natural Resources)

Oversight of ICE Detention Facilities: Examining ICE Contractors Response to COVID-19
Subcommittee on Border Security, Facilitation, and Operations (Committee on Homeland Security)

Source: House.gov

Congressional Outlook

Committee Activity

'A real problem': Devin Nunes says Russian bounty leakers 'investigating themselves'

Issues linger after House Armed Services’ smooth NDAA markup

Jim Jordan asks former US attorney to counter Mueller prosecutor's 'double-hearsay statements'

Inside Geoffrey Berman's closed-door testimonyBarr 'repeatedly urged' him to resign

Nadler: Barr dealings with Berman came 'awfully close to bribery'

House panel advances bill banning construction on bases with Confederate names

Joint Chiefs chair condemns Confederate symbols, calls Civil War an "act of treason"

CEOs of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google to testify before House Judiciary Committee July 27

Congress Last Week

Weekly Digest of the Congressional Record


National Security

GOP Sen. Grassley: Congress may override Trump veto on removing Confederate names from military bases


Foreign Policy

GOP Health Committee chair says he disagrees with Trump's WHO decision


Federal Spending

Small-business loan funding data released

Gun-Control Group Behind $4 Million Election Push Takes Coronavirus Relief

Groups critical of taxes, spending not opposed to PPP loans

Congress wary of future aid after PPP disclosures

Thursday, July 9, 2020

State, Foreign Operations Appropriations Mark-up

Today the House Appropriations Committee approved the Fiscal Year 2021 State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs appropriations bill by a vote of 29-21 along party lines.

Longstanding Pro-Life Language Retained:
  • Helms Abortion Funding Ban: Prevents foreign aid from being spent for abortion.
  • Tiahrt Voluntary Family Planning Provision: Ensures that population control funds are only used in programs which are certified to be voluntary in every respect.
  • Siljander Amendment: Prevents federal funding from being used to lobby for or against abortion.
  • Peace Corps Abortion Funding Ban: Prohibition on abortion funding in the Peace Corps.

Friday, July 3, 2020

House Committee Schedule

MondayJuly 6, 2020

FY 2021 — State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Subcommittee Markup
Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs (Committee on Appropriations)

FY 2021 — Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Subcommittee Markup
Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies (Committee on Appropriations)

FY 2021 — Military Construction, Veteran Affairs, and Related Agencies Subcommittee Markup
Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies (Committee on Appropriations)

Source: House.gov

Congressional Outlook

Committee Activity

House panel demands Pentagon briefing on Russian bounties

House postpones testimony from key Pompeo aid about IG firing

House committee votes to restrict Trump's Germany troop withdrawal, citing Russia concerns

House Armed Services Committee voted to impede Afghanistan withdrawal

Ousted former U.S. attorney for SDNY to testify before House Judiciary Committee


Floor Outlook

House to vote on removing bust of Supreme Court justice who wrote Dred Scott ruling

Senate on two-week recess

McConnell: Senate Will Consider Relief Bill After July 20

Congress Last Week

Weekly Digest of the Congressional Record

Floor Activity Headlines

McConnell makes strong call for masks, saying there should be no stigmaFloor speech

Their own form of righteousnessFloor speeches

House passes ObamaCare expansion

House rejects OCC change to bank discrimination rule

‘The chair cannot answer that’ — confusion grips the Senate floorFloor Record

House clears extension of small-business pandemic relief program, sending it to Trump's desk

Senate rejects Paul proposal on withdrawing troops from Afghanistan

Congress clears sanctions bill to punish China over Hong Kong “National Security” Law

Their own form of righteousness

When writing to the Church in Rome, Paul mentioned those who were “seeking to establish their own righteousness” (Romans 10:3).

In the book of Judges, before Israel's monarchy was established, the people of Israel were written of as doing what was “right in his own eyes” (Judges 17:6; 21:25).

When people think they are doing the right thing, they think of themselves as moral people.

The language of morality kicked into an unusually high gear on the Senate floor Monday.

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Pro-life concerns about H.R. 1425, the ACA “Enhancement” Act

On Monday, June 29, 2020, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 1425, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Enhancement Act, by a vote of 234-179.

H.R. 1425:
• increases the premium tax credits available for consumers through the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
• provides a permanent, mandatory $10 billion annual appropriation for a new federal reinsurance program run by the states.

Both premium tax credits and reinsurance allow taxpayer funding to subsidize ACA plans that provide elective abortion.

The Hyde Amendment protects all federal funds appropriated through the Labor-HHS Appropriations bill from being used to fund abortion or health plans that include abortion. Since the Hyde Amendment was enacted in 1976, other funding limitation amendments and policies have been established according to the same principle.

ACA deviated from the longstanding Hyde Amendment principle by using taxpayer dollars to fund insurance plans that cover abortion on demand, including brutal late-term abortions.

Because the premium tax credit increases and the reinsurance program in H.R. 1425 do not include language that prevents funds from being used for plans that provide elective abortion, they present a pro-life problem and violate the Hyde Amendment.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

June Medical Services Analysis

Senator Mike Lee spoke on the Senate floor Tuesday about the Supreme Court's opinion in June Medical Services v. Russo.
Mr. LEE. Madam President, I come to the floor wanting to discuss a case called June Medical Services v. Russo. This was a decision announced by the Supreme Court of the United States yesterday.

This is a decision that hasn't gotten as much attention as many cases that go before the Supreme Court. It is, nonetheless, a significant decision, and it is a decision that, I believe, is deeply flawed and betrays many of the legal and constitutional principles that the Supreme Court of the United States purports to apply and is supposed to be bound by as it decides cases and controversies properly brought before its jurisdiction.

The June Medical Services case involved the constitutionality of a statute enacted by the Louisiana Legislature, known as Act 620. The legislation in question required any doctor performing abortions within Louisiana to hold active admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the location of the abortion clinic in question. The Act then defined what it meant to have acting admitting privileges, and it did so in terms of a reference to the ability to admit a patient and to provide diagnostic and surgical services to such patient. It is understandable why the State of Louisiana or any State might want to consider adopting such legislation.

I want to be very clear at the outset that this case did not involve any legislation prohibiting abortion. In fact, there is nothing about Act 620 that made abortions illegal in Louisiana nor is there anything about Act 620 that would have made it practically impossible or really difficult for people to obtain an abortion. That is not what it did. It simply acknowledged the fact that an abortion is a type of surgical medical procedure and, in taking into account the fact that it is a medical procedure, is sometimes fraught with medical peril that can sometimes result in people getting hurt and people having to go to the hospital and that it might be helpful in those circumstances to have the person who performed the procedure have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the abortion clinic.

The constitutionality of the law was challenged in a lawsuit brought by five abortion clinics and four abortion providers in Louisiana. Now, they challenged the law in Federal district court, and they did so before the act even took effect, arguing that it was unconstitutional because it imposed an undue burden on their patients' right to obtain abortions. The abortion clinics and the medical providers at issue—the doctors and the clinics that challenged it—were quite significantly not arguing that these were their own constitutional rights that were being impaired. They were, instead, arguing that they had standing, that they had the ability to stand in the shoes of those who were among their patients, those whom they served.

So I would like to talk about three critical features of this decision and why I think the decision was wrong in all three respects.

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