Saturday, May 14, 2022

In Context: Small Things

On Tuesday, 5/3, there was a curious entry in the daily Senate floor log of Senator floor speeches:
3:52 p.m. Senator Durbin spoke on abortion and microchips.
In his speech, he noted things on the two separate topics such as:
  • Last December, a report from Harvard warned that China is now a "Full-spectrum peer competitor" when it comes to advanced technology like AI and quantum computing.
  • We have become dangerously dependent on China and other competitors when it comes to securing our supply chain with microchips.
  • The Supreme Court found the right to privacy by combining the rights of several other different amendments.
There's much that can be said on both topics, and much has. Abortion has become an unusually frequent topic in the Congressional Record for the last two weeks.

Both unborn children and microchips are small and of large value. One is a precious tiny human being made by God. The other is a tiny calculator made by man.

Weekly Congress Update

Daily Digests HouseSenatePrayersCommittee Reports

SenateDaily Leader Remarks • Actions begun, passed, declined

McConnell criticizes protests outside justices' homes (Full Speech) • Senate passes security bill for Supreme Court family members, as protesters harass their homes

Bipartisan Majority Rejects Radical Abortion Bill Pushed By Senate Democrats (S. 4132) • Democrats fail to codify Roeradical abortion bill would go far beyond Roe, risks health of baby and motherSenate GOP, Manchin block abortion rights legislation49 Senate Democrats Vote for Extreme Abortion BillDemocrats' bad mathWhat comes nextThe weird media-Democratic disinformation campaign on the Senate abortion vote

Rand Paul objection delays $40 billion Ukraine aid package (H.R. 7691Debate) • Rand Paul was right to insist on fiscal accountability for Ukrainian aid bill

Confirmations: Powell to second term as Fed chairmanFed nominee Lisa Cook FTC nominee boosting Biden anti-Big Tech agenda

HouseWeekly Leader ColloquyBills • Actions passed

House passes bill awarding Congressional Gold Medal to chief US prosecutor at Nuremberg TrialsH.R. 6015

$40B emergency funding bill for Ukraine passes House (H.R. 7691368-57) • 57 Republicans vote ‘no’What's included in the Ukraine aid bill?billions for Pentagon, arms makersZelensky thanks Pelosi, House for passing Ukraine aid measure

House passes four bills rebuking Russia and Belarus, supporting Ukraine despite some GOP opposition (H.R. 6891, H.R. 7081, H.R. 7066, H.R. 6899) • two Republicans voted against

House passes bill to protect seniors from scams H.R. 5914

House passes bill to improve working conditions for TSA employeesH.R. 903

House votes to allow staffers to unionize, approves resolutionH.Res. 1097

Saturday, May 7, 2022

In Context: Preparing for Mourning

Much of the oxygen in Washington this week has been consumed by the firestorm from the Supreme Court of the United States that it is possibly set to find that Roe (1973) and Casey (1992) were wrongly decided. One side is angry. The other side is waiting. Both sides need to prepare for mourning the needless loss of so many millions of lives.

In war, even in victory, there is the loss of those who do not make it home. After World War II, the magnitude and scale of The Holocaust took time to be understood. If ever there were a need for empathy today, it's to understand the scale of a half-century tragedy that is now an order of magnitude larger than that.

Majority Leader Schumer has announced his intention for the Senate to vote on continuing the current legal status of abortion in this Nation next week. He said, “Next week's vote will be one of the most important we ever take…” This may be more true than he knows. What if it's important, not just because it's about “personal and difficult decisions,” but because it's one of the last moment's God is giving this Nation to turn away from the evil of shedding innocent blood in the womb?

Weekly Congress Update

Daily Digests HouseSenatePrayersCommittee Reports

SenateDaily Leader Remarks • Actions begun, passed, declined, summarized

Related Headlines:

Senate votes to overturn Biden rule masking 2-year-oldsS.J.Res. 39, 55-41

U.S. lawmakers to open formal chips, China bill negotiations (H.R. 4521) • U.S. Congress edges toward massive China competition bill with votes on Iran, energy (Debate) • 62 senators, including 16 Democrats, vote to oppose nuclear-only Iran deal (62-33) • Senate agrees to motion blocking a climate national emergency declaration (49-47) • Senate passes motion to stop gain-of-function research funding in ChinaJoe Manchin joins with Tom Cotton to reroute $8 billion in climate funds to weapons systems (50-44) • Senate Democrats join with Republicans to vote down Bernie Sanders' effort to stop outsourcing (6-87) • Senate Defeats Effort to Scrap Second HLS (17-78) • Senate Conferees Get Marching Orders for USICA/COMPETES Negotiations

Saturday, April 30, 2022

In Context: Spending as Leverage

Annual appropriations requests are under consideration in committee and talks have begun on fiscal year 2023 spending levels.

Other items for additional beyond-budget spending include more Ukraine aid and coronavirus response. There is bipartisan agreement for the former, and not so much for the latter.

Weekly Congress Update

Daily Digests HouseSenatePrayersCommittee Reports

SenateDaily Leader Remarks • Actions begun, passed, declined

Senate confirms liberal favorite Lael Brainard as Fed’s new vice chairwoman, COVID-19 trips Democrats on Cook vote

Senate Democrats block overturning of Biden's pro-abortion Title X rule49-49

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Schumer ties religious liberty to government spending

During his daily Senate floor leader remarks on Tuesday, Majority Leader Schumer made another pitch for additional COVID funding as a “must-have” and “something our Nation cannot possibly afford to go without.” He claimed, “another round of COVID funding” is “The answer to avoiding another shutdown of our communities”.

He further emphasized the point saying, “Let me say it again. If we want to keep life as close to normal down the line, if we want to keep schools and churches and businesses open if, God forbid, another aggressive variant arises, Republicans should work with us to approve more money for vaccines, testing, and lifesaving therapeutics.”

What if God doesn't forbid? If “another aggressive variant arises,” then does that mean the Democrats are ready to once again bring on “another shutdown of our communities” including closing “schools and churches and businesses”?

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Senate Democrats block overturning of Biden's pro-abortion Title X rule in 49-49 vote

Senate Republicans, led by Sen.Marco Rubio, orchestrated a procedural maneuver in the Democrat-controlled Senate to force a vote on S.J.Res.41, a joint resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act to overturn the Biden Administration’s 2021 final rule on the Title X Family Planning Program.

The motion failed by a tied vote of 49-49:  

  • 48 Senate Republicans voted yes, joined by Democrat Senator Joe Manchin.
  • 47 Senate Democrats voted no, joined by Republican Senators Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski.
  • Democrat Senators Chris Murphy and Ron Wyden were absent and did not vote.

The Biden Title X rule defies the law, which states clearly that Title X funds shall not “be used in programs where abortion is a method of family planning”, and siphons tens of millions of taxpayer dollars annually in Title X funding towards abortion provider Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry.

Enactment of this resolution would have overturned the 2021 Biden rule, reinstated the Trump Administration’s 2019 Protect Life Rule, and prevented any future administration from reissuing the 2021 Biden rule.

Saturday, April 23, 2022

In Context: Questions to go beyond churnalism

Screenwriter Nora Ephron told a story of a journalism class activity in which the students were assigned to write a headline and article for the school newspaper based on a dry announcement about an upcoming teacher in-service meeting. After the students rewrote the update in their own words, the teacher trashed all their articles and then announced, “Here's your headline: There's No School on Thursday!”

Many reporters today are still taking what they're given, rearranging the words, and basically posting someone else's press release with their news organization's masthead instead. This practice has a name: churnalism. An easy way to spot the difference is if quotes are “said in a statement” (churnalism) or “said in an interview” (journalism).

Weekly Congress Update



National Security

New requests bring military’s ‘unfunded priorities’ above $21 billion


Foreign Policy

Senators visiting Poland, India, Germany to rally Ukraine support

Republicans call on Blinken to reopen Kyiv embassy

Ukrainian prime minister to meet with Pelosi

McCarthy ramps up Ukraine blame game with Biden

Rubio pushes White House on bill to establish space debris sanctions — S. 3925


Immigration

Biden faces deepening Democratic riftmutiny • Democrats pressure Biden to back off Title 42 decision • Sen. Sinema says Title 42 decision is inconsistent with mask extension • Ten Democrats joining Republicans in opposing Biden's plan • 7 More House Democrats Can Help Stop The Looming Border Catastrophe • Congress Tries Last-Ditch Effort to Keep Title 42 in Place — H.R. 7458

20 House Republicans Demand ICE Data on Arrests, Deportations Withheld by Biden

Saturday, April 9, 2022

In Context: Building for Eternity

This year Good Friday and Tax Day are the same day.

It’s easy to mistake one as being about eternal things, and the other as only being about temporary things. In truth, both can be about eternal things.

In the well-known passage about eternal rewards Paul wrote to the Corinthians, actions with the wood, hay, and straw can have as much of a possibility of lasting for eternity as actions with the gold, silver, and precious stones. The difference is in the foundation on which we are building—Jesus Christ.

Weekly Congress Update

Daily Digests HouseSenatePrayersCommittee Reports


SenateDaily Leader Remarks • Actions begun, passed, declined

Senate confirms Jackson to Supreme Court53-47

Senate votes 100-0 to limit trade with Russia100-0, 100-0

S. 2123, Pray Safe Act, passes — directs the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to establish a Federal Clearinghouse on Safety and Security Best Practices for Faith-Based Organizations and Houses of Worship

GOP blocks advancing COVID-19 deal amid COVID-era immigration fight47-52

Senate floor reading of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Letter From Birmingham Jail


HouseWeekly Leader ColloquyBills • Actions passed

House passes bill to document Russian war crimes in UkraineH.R. 7276, 418-7Six Republicans voted against potentially undermining American sovereignty

House suspends trade relations with Russia, BelarusH.R. 7108, H.R. 6968

House passes bill to provide relief to restaurants impacted by pandemicH.R. 3807

House passes bill to facilitate medical marijuana researchH.R. 5657

House votes to hold Navarro and Scavino in contempt of Congress220-203

Saturday, April 2, 2022

In Context: Value for a self-governed People

2022 is a U.S. mid-term election year. Americans are correct and do well to take stock of the country, and compare how well their governments are punishing those who do evil and praising those who do good (Romans 13:3-4, 1 Peter 2:14). If they are, reelection of officeholders may be in order, and if they're not, electing others to office instead may be wise.

This year's election may not be “the most important election of our lifetimes.” (We've had several of those in the last decade or two.) It could, however, be one of the most contentious.

Pollsters make a living measuring the level of comity or contention among the people. Questions about the national mood, direction of the country, approval of the President, and approval of Congress are never in short supply. UPI recently reported on a Gallup poll showing “The job approval rating for the U.S. Congress remained low in March with 21% of Americans approving of lawmakers' performance.”

The question is, How useful is it to “approve” or “disapprove” of Congress?

Weekly Congress Update

Daily Digests HouseSenatePrayersCommittee Reports


SenateDaily Leader Remarks • Actions begun, passed, declined

Cook inches toward Fed as Senate votes to discharge nomination50-49

Senate rejects Biden Labor nominee amid Democratic opposition47-53

Senate Moves Forward with Alvaro Bedoya’s FTC Confirmation50-50


HouseWeekly Leader ColloquyBills • Actions passed

House passes bill to honor Ginsburg and O'Connor with statuesS. 3294

House passes bill to bolster reporting of sexual assaults on public transitH.R. 5706

House Passes Bill to Limit Price of Insulin, Republicans Object to ‘Government Drug-Pricing’H.R. 6833

House votes to decriminalize marijuana at federal levelH.R. 3617

Monday, March 28, 2022

President Biden's Fiscal Year 2023 U.S. Budget recommends eliminating the life-saving Hyde Amendment, recommends providing funding for abortion and abortion providers

President Biden’s fiscal year 2023 budget proposes eliminating the Hyde Amendment and allows taxpayer funding of abortion.

Life-related provisions include:

Eliminates the Hyde Amendment (p. 797) which would allow taxpayer funding for abortion on demand through Medicaid, Medicare disability, and other programs funded under the Labor/Health & Human Services appropriations bill.

Saturday, March 26, 2022

In Context: Blinded by what we can see

This week, the Senate Judiciary Committee held hearings on the nomination of Ketanji Brown Jackson to be an Associate Justice on the Supreme Court of the United States. There was a day of opening statements, two days for the nominee to answer questions, and a day of supplemental expert testimony.

The Senate and the Supreme Court have been operating and interacting for more than 200 years, forming and adjudicating the words of our laws and their meanings. Americans have been able to read and hear how their laws are made for at least the latter half of that time.

In the last four decades, the function of Congress has been harmed by a change to its operations, and one Senator during this week's hearings reiterated his hope to prevent the same cause of dysfunction from being imposed on the Supreme Court.

Weekly Congress Update

Saturday, March 19, 2022

Congress Update

Daily Digests HouseSenatePrayersCommittee Reports

Related Headlines:

Zelensky Speaks to Congress, Asks for Fighter Jets, No-Fly ZoneFull Text

Zelenskyy Invokes Pearl Harbor, 9/11 In Plea To US LawmakersZelensky challenges conscience of Congresslights new fire under Congress — with limitsCongress gives standing ovation to ZelenskyMembers of Congress Praise Ukrainian President’s Speech‘Throw On My Uniform’: Congress Reacts To Zelenskyy’s Emotional SpeechFive takeaways from Zelensky's virtual address to Congress

'Protect our sky': Zelensky calls for no-fly zonePelosi rejects


SenateDaily Leader Remarks • Actions begun, passed, declined

Senate approves making Daylight Saving Time permanentS. 623
Push to make daylight savings time permanent has longtime backersWhat's really happening when we change our clocksOn year-round DST, Congress is springing into errorWhat would change

Shalanda Young confirmed as OMB director61-36

Senate votes to nix mask mandate for public transportation57-40

Senate passes resolution supporting Putin war crime probeS.Res. 546


HouseBills • Actions passed

House votes to bolster efforts to educate public about Japanese American internment campsH.R. 6434

After Zelenskyy speech, House passes bill to revoke normal trade relations with Russia and BelarusH.R. 7108

House passes CROWN Act, banning race-based hair discriminationH.R. 2116

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