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Saturday, September 24, 2022

In Context: How to Entangle Free Speech

Free speech is about more than just saying something. Free speech is about saying something so that it can be heard and make a difference in the outcome of a situation.

While legal protection for the right to free speech has come at a price, there is also always a cost of exercising a meaningful right to free speech. Even if one is not directly spending money to speak, external adjudicators can always find an expense related to the exercise of free speech. Whether someone paid for the gas used to drive to a venue to speak or paid for internet access to connect to social media, a financial cost is unavoidable.

It is precisely these inevitable costs that makes laws about campaign finance a menace to freedom of speech.

Weekly Congress Update

Daily Digests HouseSenatePrayersCommittee Reports

House sends spousal student loan bill to Biden’s desk (S. 1098)

SenateDaily Leader Remarks • Actions begun, passed, declined

Senate approves climate treaty limiting HFCs, which US is already phasing down (Treaty Doc 117-1) • would raise cost of air conditioning

Senate Republicans block donor disclosure bill (S. 4822)

Schumer starts process for taking up stopgap funding bill (H.R. 6833) • despite snags over Manchin's energy plan

Latino group: Ted Cruz blocked nomination based on 'outright lie' (Floor Debate)

HouseWeekly Leader ColloquyBills • Actions passed

Four House Republicans vote against bill on international religious freedom (S. 3895)

House passes Cheney's electoral reform bill (H.R. 8873)

House passes four policing bills despite Democratic division (H.R. 6448, H.R. 8542, H.R. 4118, H.R. 5768)

Saturday, September 17, 2022

In Context: Integrity vs. Corruption

This week did not turn out to be the week the U.S. Senate voted on same-sex marriage. Democratic Majority Leader Schumer wants to give negotiators more time, specifically until after the election, to win more Republican votes.

Leader Schumer is framing the issue as preserving “marriage equality” and describing everything before the 2015 Obergefell decision as “marriage discrimination.”

Weekly Congress Update

Daily Digests HouseSenatePrayersCommittee Reports

Bill eliminating statute of limitations for child sex abuse civil suits heads to Biden's desk (S. 3103)

SenateDaily Leader Remarks • Actions begun, passed, declined

Sanders blocks proposal to force rail unions to accept labor deal (S.J.Res. 61, Debate)

Biden court nominee fails to win confirmation as two Democrats miss vote (47-50)

Senate confirms 2nd Circuit judge; panel advances five other nominees

Biden beats Obama's record for putting public defenders on federal bench

Senate confirms first-ever cyber ambassador

Cruz Slams Senate Democrat for Blocking School Safety Bills; Murphy reports Lankford approached him and already began negotiations about the same bill (S. 4586, Debate)

HouseWeekly Leader ColloquyBills • Actions passed

House passes resolution honoring Queen Elizabeth II (H.Res. 1341)

House swears in three new lawmakers, including Alaska’s Mary Peltola

House passes bill strengthening whistleblower protections for federal employees (H.R. 2988) • House passes bill seeking to protect federal civil service employees from TrumpHouse Democrats Pass Bill Blocking Trump-Era Order to Hold Federal Employees Accountable

Census bill to prevent political interference passes House (H.R. 8326) • After Botched Census, Democrats Push Less Accountability for Bureau

Saturday, September 3, 2022

In Context: Existential Freedom

Thursday night, without much build-up or explanation, President Biden proclaimed, "Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans represent an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our republic."

The President first claimed, "They refuse to accept the results of a free election." Senate Republican Leader McConnell on the Senate floor has debunked claims about state election laws.

For several minutes, President Biden decried violence: "this is a nation that rejects violence as a political tool. We do not encourage violence. … We hear — you've heard it — more and more talk about violence as an acceptable political tool in this country. It's not. It could never be an acceptable tool. … There is no place for political violence in America. Period. None. Ever. … We can't allow violence to be normalized in this country."

In his conclusion, he claimed, "The soul of America is defined by the sacred proposition that all are created equal and the image of God."

Weekly Congress Update

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