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Adam Dick

House 'Improves' TSA Instead of Ending It

Following another Thanksgiving travel period with the Transportation Security Administration subjecting travelers to infuriating harassment, the House of Representatives leadership has scheduled for House floor consideration Tuesday three bills that will tinker with the TSA while allowing the harassment to continue. The three bills are the TSA Loose Change Act (HR 1095), the Transportation Security Acquisition Reform Act (HR 2719), and the Aviation Security Stakeholder Participation Act (HR 1204)

All three bills are scheduled for consideration under suspension of the rules—a process generally reserved for noncontroversial legislation. Because bills considered under suspension of the rules are not subject to amendments on the House floor, the House Republican and Democrat leadership have enured there will be no debate or vote on amendments that would end or significantly restrict the TSA harassment.
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Rep. Walter Jones: Congress Should Decide if US Military Stays in Afghanistan

Rep. Walter Jones, speaking on the US House of Representatives floor yesterday morning, called on Congress to exercise its constitutional power over US military policy in Afghanistan. In particular, Jones insisted that Congress debate and vote on the matter instead of acquiescing to keeping the US military in Afghanistan for ten more years under a bilateral security agreement being negotiated by US President Barack Obama and Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai.
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Rep. Walter Jones: Stop Wasting American Money and Lives in Afghanistan

Rep. Walter Jones, an RPI Advisory Board member, presented last week on the House floor a short, powerful speech calling for ending US military action in, and the flow of Americans' tax money to, Afghanistan. Jones's speech focuses on continued US government spending in Afghanistan "at a time when America is drowning in debt" as well as recent killings of Americans in Afghanistan, including a father of two who had been stationed at a US Marines base in Jones's North Carolina district.
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House Republicans' Hollow 'Local Control of Education' Rhetoric

By guiding HR 2083, the Protecting Students from Sexual and Violent Predators Act, to the Floor Tuesday for passage by a voice vote, the House Republican leadership demonstrated the hollowness of the praise it heaped on local control of education when HR 5, the Student Success Act, passed in the House three months earlier.

The nice sounding but ominous in consequences Protecting Students from Sexual and Violent Predators Act presents serious federalism, constitutional, and individual liberty concerns. The legislation standardizes nationwide -- and expands -- school-related background check policies that states have implemented. In particular, HR 2083 mandates fingerprinting, as well as state and FBI criminal background checking, of millions of school and local or state educational agency employees. The requirements also apply to any people who, because they work for private entities or public agencies with a school contract or agreement, have "unsupervised access" to students.
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Sen. Ron Wyden Warns of Fake Surveillance Reform and the Economic Harm of US Mass Spying

US Sen. Ron Wyden, in a Guardian article he wrote based on his speech at a Cato Institute event this week, reinforces RPI's warnings that efforts to reform the US government mass spying program "provide an excellent opportunity to make bad legislation worse" and that the spying "threatens American companies' business prospects in the international marketplace."
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Did Sen. Reid Let Slip Secret Plan to Use Navy Yard Killings as Excuse for New Medical Privacy Violations?

There is reason for concern that the US Congress and the National Rifle Association may soon  work together to use the Washington, DC Navy Yard killings earlier this week as an excuse to expand a US government database of all Americans' private medical information.

The day after the Navy Yard killings, US Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was talking about bringing expanded gun transfer background checks to a vote in the Senate. Bloomberg reports:
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, said he’ll schedule another vote to expand firearms background checks “as quickly as we can” when enough members support the bill. Reid said at the moment, the Senate lacks enough votes to pass the legislation.

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House Passes Farm Bill With Partial Hemp Legalization

The US House of Representatives passed a new farm bill (H.R.2642) Thursday afternoon that would remove the US government prohibition on colleges and universities growing industrial hemp for research purposes in compliance with state laws. The partial removal of the US government prohibition on growing hemp included in H.R.2642 is the same as in Rep. Jared Polis's amendment that won a majority floor vote for inclusion in a previous House farm bill (H.R.1947) before that farm bill was voted down on the House floor.
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McCain: 'Vote For Berlin Wall!'

Sen. John McCain is promoting the so-called immigration bill (S.744) in the United States Senate by emphasizing it will create "the most militarized border since the fall of the Berlin Wall." Apparently, McCain believes this argument will convince other senators to vote for the legislation. The "border-industrial complex" we have been warned about is out in the open.
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Major Drug War Expansion on Senate Agenda This Week

The so-called immigration bill the United States Senate is considering this week (S.744) is about much more than immigration laws. As Ted Hesson explains at ABC News, the bill would significantly expand the US Border Patrol's already large role in the US government's war on drugs. Putting the legislation in context, San Antonio Express-News columnist O. Ricardo Pimental advises that the legislation advances what he calls the "growing border-industrial complex," which operates much like the military-industrial complex and yields profits for many of the same companies.
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Farm Freedom: US House Votes for Pro-Hemp Amendment

The United States House of Representatives voted 225-220 on Thursday to remove the US government prohibition on colleges and universities growing industrial hemp for research purposes in compliance with state laws. The vote was taken on an amendment offered by Rep. Jared Polis and cosponsors Reps. Earl Blumenauer and Thomas Massie during consideration of the farm bill (HR 1947). While the farm bill failed to pass in the House, the amendment vote has established majority support in the House for some rollback of US government restrictions on growing hemp.
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