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The US Senate Appropriations Defense Subcommittee just approved the transfer of $351 million to Israel for the Iron Dome missile defense system — that will bring the appropriations this week for Israel to $621 million. There has been virtually no debate about such huge payments to another nation’s defense budget when cities and schools continue to cut back on programs for lack of fund.

18 July 2014read on...

House Procedure in Action: Pro-Drug War Amendment OK, Pro-Gun Rights Amendment Prohibited US House of Representatives rules were strictly enforced Tuesday to prevent a full House vote on a pro-gun rights amendment offered by Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) despite the earlier incorporation into the bill of a pro-drug war amendment that would also appear to be barred by a strict application of the procedural rule.

17 July 2014read on...

Resolution Requiring US Military Withdrawal from Iraq on the Fast Track to US House Vote
A resolution requiring the removal from Iraq of all US military troops who are not protecting diplomatic facilities and personnel that was introduced Friday in the US House of Representatives by Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA) is on the fast track to a debate and vote in the House.

14 July 2014read on...

House to Vote on 'Expedited and Dignified' TSA Screenings for Some People, Sometimes
The US House of Representatives is scheduled to consider on Tuesday the Honor Flight Act (HR 4812) that would require the Transportation Security Administration to work with a non-profit organization to establish a process for providing “expedited and dignified passenger screening services for veterans” who are traveling with the aid of certain non-profit organizations to visit certain war memorials.

6 July 2014read on...

Rep. Thomas Massie: 'Declassify 9/11 Report to Prevent the Next 9/11'
In a new discussion at the YouTube channel of Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC), Jones, an RPI Advisory Board member, discusses with Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) the effort to declassify 28 pages of a joint House of Representatives and Senate Intelligence Committees report. The redacted pages include information concerning foreign governments’ involvement in the September 11, 2001 attacks in America. Jones and Massie both state that the information in those 28 pages is important for informing decisions regarding the Middle East and potential US government actions in Iraq, as well as for preventing another attack in America similar to the September 11 attacks.

1 July 2014read on...

US House Rejects by 355 to 62 Vote Amendment to Limit Transfer of Military Weapons and Equipment to Local Police
By a vote of 355 “no” votes to 62 “yes” votes the United States House of Representatives voted down Thursday night an amendment offered by Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) to the Department of Defense Appropriations Act (HR 4870) that would have curtailed the transfer of US military equipment to local police.



20 June 2014read on...

Rep. John Duncan: 'Stop Trying to Take Care of the Whole World and Start Taking Care of Our Own Country'
Rep. John J. Duncan, Jr. (R-TN) brought one minute of hard-hitting reality to the United States House of Representatives on May 30, remarking that the United States government, with its over $17 trillion debt, is only escaping — for now — Detroit-style bankruptcy by printing money. The representative explains that, unless the US government becomes more fiscally responsible, the US will fail to satisfy fully obligations such as military pension and social security payments. Duncan, an RPI Advisory Board member concludes his speech by suggesting the US government “stop trying to take care of the whole world and start taking care of our own country and putting the American people first once again.”

12 June 2014read on...

US House Votes to Respect States’ Medical Marijuana and Hemp Legalization
An appropriations bill passed Friday in the United States House of Representatives and on its way to the US Senate contains provisions calling for the United States government to stop treading on states’ efforts to legalize medical marijuana and industrial hemp.

31 May 2014read on...

Sen. Ron Wyden: House-Passed USA FREEDOM Act is 'Reform in Name Only'
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), speaking Wednesday in his home state of Oregon, declared that the “Status Quo Caucus” including “intelligence leadership, their friends in the House of Representatives, [and] their allies in academia” had successfully transformed the USA FREEDOM Act (HR 3361) into “reform in name only” by the time it was debated and approved on the United States House of Representatives floor.

29 May 2014read on...

Rep. Zoe Lofgren: USA FREEDOM Act Secretly 'Altered in Worrisome Ways'
On Wednesday — the day before the United States House of Representatives voted to approve the USA FREEDOM Act (HR 3361)—Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) explained on the House floor that back room machinations changed the bill between the votes approving it in the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees and the bill’s consideration on the House floor. These shenanigans outside the routine committee process, Lofgren explains, made meaningless some restraints on US government mass spying contained in the bill.

23 May 2014read on...

Congress Alert

House Leadership's Iron Fist on Defense Appropriations Bill


When the "People's Branch" of government takes up the Defense Appropriations bill later this week they will abandon a long-held tradition of debating the bill under an "open rule," which would allow any amendment to be brought to the floor that does not seek to change the language of the underlying bill.

Traditionally, any amendment limiting or striking funds for any particular program was allowed to the floor under the "five minute rule," i.e. the Member had five minutes to introduce and make the case for the amendment. It was the one way for Members who were not in leadership or doing the bidding of leadership to get their voices and priorities heard. Congressman Paul and several of his close colleagues on the Hill often made use of the appropriations bills and their open rule to introduce amendments striking funds for war on Libya, Syria, Iraq, etc.

This week, House Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions (R-TX) announced that he was ending that practice. He would be sending the bill to the floor under a rule allowing only "limited" amendments.

The reason for Sessions' extremely unusual decision to crush open debate about the funding the Defense apparatus next year?

As reported in Defense News today, House leadership’s "fears of fights over NSA surveillance and aid to Egypt."

The website explained further:
"An influx of amendment and debate over controversial amendments that might place restrictions on the controversial NSA surveillance programs made public and former Booz Allen Hamilton employee Edward Snowden, U.S. military aid to Egypt, or the White House’s ability to intervene in Syria could bring the chamber to a slow crawl."
What this means is that House Leadership refuses to allow Members of Congress to perform their individual responsibilities to exercise oversight over any potentially controversial aspect of US foreign policy. In other words, Congress must forbid debate. Foreign aid to Egypt must not only continue, but continue without debate. The president's policy of arming radical jihadists in Syria could not be debated. NSA spying on Americans must not be debated.

Chairman Sessions explains in a "Dear Colleague" letter, that:
The Committee on Rules may meet during the week of July 15, 2013 to consider a rule that may limit the amendment process for H.R. 2397, the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2014. While this is not the traditional process for this bill, there are a number of sensitive and ongoing issues related to national security that are more appropriately handled through an orderly amendment process ensuring timely consideration of this important measure.
Not since the time of the Soviet Union has a rubber stamp been wielded so nonchalantly by an iron fist.
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