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Speaker John Boehner Says House Should Vote on ISIS War but Refuses to Allow Vote While the United States Constitution says authority over declaring and funding war resides in the Congress, US House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner refuses to allow a House vote regarding congressional authorization of the war on ISIS. Boehner says he disagrees with how President Barack Obama is pursuing the war. Boehner also says the House should vote on the war. But instead of calling a vote on the war — something Boehner could have done any time during the war’s escalation — Boehner just waits for the president to present him with a resolution that Boehner, like a diligent servant, promises to promptly put on the House floor for a vote.

30 September 2014read on...

Dennis Kucinich Drops In On Hemp Activists at US Capitol
Industrial hemp activists from around the country visited United States Representatives’ and Senators’ offices in Washington, DC this week to make the case for repealing decades-old US government restrictions related to the plant. When the activists were meeting together after their congressional office visits, RPI Advisory Board Member and former US Rep. Dennis Kucinich dropped in and offered some comments regarding hemp.

25 September 2014read on...

Rep. Walter Jones: Don't Arm 'Moderates' in Syria!
Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC) has just released a statement strongly opposing the McKeon Amendment to the Continuing Resolution (HJ Res 124) scheduled for a vote today. The amendment would grant Congressional approval for the president's plan to arm and train "moderate" rebels fighting in Syria to overthrow the Assad government. Repeating the words of a former US Marine Commandant, Rep. Jones asks, "are we arming another Taliban?"

17 September 2014read on...

Prof. Peter Kraska’s Police Militarization Testimony for the US Senate Homeland Security Committee
The following is the informative and thought-provoking written testimony of Eastern Kentucky University Professor Peter B. Kraska for the United States Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee’s Tuesday hearing “Oversight of Federal Programs for Equipping State and Local Law Enforcement”...

10 September 2014read on...

Here Comes Increased Deficit Spending to Fight IS
You might think that, with the US government debt increasing year after year and bloated US military spending nearly equal to the combined military spending of the rest of the world, the US government would try to find a way to fight the Islamic State without increasing spending. Supposing the US government proceeds with further escalating yet another Middle East war, couldn’t President Barack Obama and Congress at least work together to pay the bill by transferring billions of spare dollars from elsewhere in the vast and wasteful US military and intelligence budgets? How about starting by canning the US government’s mass spying program?

27 August 2014read on...

Rep. Walter Jones and Ron Paul on the Saudi Arabia-Bush Administration 9/11 Cover-Up
“The American People have the right to know the truth and to know the relationship with the Saudis at the time of the Bush administration,” declared Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC) in a Monday discussion with Ron Paul on the Ron Paul Channel. Jones made the comment in support of his US House of Representatives legislation H.Res. 428 that seeks the declassification of 28 pages redacted from a joint House and Senate Intelligence Committees report regarding the attacks on America on September 11, 2001.

18 August 2014read on...

House and Senate Leaders Line Up Behind Obama on Bombing Iraq President Barack Obama is encountering no opposition from the top four Democrat and Republican leaders in the House and Senate as he escalates US military action in Iraq with new bombings.

US Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has chosen not to comment regarding the matter, just as he did last year regarding a potential US military attack on Syria until he announced his opposition the same day Obama called off the planned attack. The other three top Republican and Democrat leaders in both chambers of Congress have all issued statements supporting the US military’s ongoing bombings in Iraq.

11 August 2014read on...

No Dissent Heard as House and Senate Quickly Approve $225 million for Israel War On Friday, the last day before the annual congressional August recess, new legislation (H.J.Res. 76) was introduced on the US Senate floor and rushed to passage in both the Senate and US House. The legislation gives the Israel government another $225 million dollars for the Iron Dome system Israel is using in the ongoing Israel-Palestine war.

4 August 2014read on...

Eric Cantor Leaving US House for Wall Street Millions?
Did former US House of Representatives Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) announce his resignation from the House so he can speed up private negotiations to make the big bucks in the financial industry? That is the suggestion of a new Politico article.

2 August 2014read on...

Former Commission Heads Endorse Rep. Walter Jones' 9/11 Declassification Bill
Answering an audience member’s question at a July 22 Washington, DC event, Thomas H. Kean and Lee H. Hamilton — who were, respectively, the chair and vice-chair of the 9/11 Commission that published its report ten years ago this month—spoke in favor of making public 28 redacted pages in the December 2002 report of a joint House and Senate Intelligence Committees investigation of the September 11, 2001 attacks. Kean and Hamilton have thus endorsed the call in Rep. Walter Jones’ H.Res. 428 for the president to make public these pages of the congressional report that have been redacted for over 11 years.

31 July 2014read on...

Congress Alert

Defense Appropriations Delayed -- Rebellion in the Works?


Faced with an unexpected groundswell of opposition to its highly unusual move to limit debate on the Defense Appropriations bill, as well as fears over a Floor fight on such contentious issues as the coup in Egypt, arming the Syrian rebels, and NSA spying, House leadership has made it clear that the bill is on hold until at least next week.

House leadership hoped to limit discussion of and potential votes on issues it considered too hot to handle by offering up a very unusual modified closed rule to govern the debate on the Floor of the Defense Appropriations legislation this week. As RPI reported earlier this week, appropriations bills are customarily debated under an open "five minute rule," whereby Members have the opportunity to offer up any amendment that does not violate Rule XXI, i.e. that does not seek to use legislative language to alter the underlying appropriations bill. What this means is that Members can move to strike funding for any program or policy or whatever they wish in the appropriations bill. Defunding a particular part of the legislation is in effect killing it, which of course does have policy implications. The amendment process in the appropriations bills is a key way that Members can make their concerns heard over the direction of the spending.

RPI has learned that several GOP Members had threatened House leadership with a vote against the rule if amendments on Syria, Egypt, and NSA spying were summarily rejected. Typically, rule votes proceed according to party lines, and breaking with one's party is a sign of open revolt usually over the process.

Late today, Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) announced bipartisan amendments to the Defense Appropriations bill that would forbid the president from using any of the appropriated funds to support military or paramilitary actions in Egypt and Syria without Congressional approval. Massie's efforts reflect a growing Congressional restiveness over the president's unilateral announcement that the US would begin providing weapons to the Syrian rebels, which Massie describes as carrying the risk of "giving money and military assistance to our enemies."

Fellow Republican Justin Amash (R-MI) underscored Massie's concerns over the president's moves, stating that “Congress has not authorized force against Syria or Egypt, which the Constitution requires before military action. Once again, the administration is considering unilaterally intervening in foreign wars that the American people want nothing to do with.”

Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-OR) joined his colleagues in these amendments.

It remains to be seen how House leadership intends to handle an opposition to its DoD Appropriations gag rule that only seems to be picking up steam. Stay tuned until next week and keep an eye on RPI's Congress Alert!


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