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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.

Grayson explained on the House floor that he offered his amendment “to address a growing problem throughout our country, which is the militarization of local law enforcement agencies.” In particular Grayson expressed concern about documentation in the New York Times of huge transfers of military weapons and equipment to local police and the overkill use of transferred items in ordinary law enforcement, even in raids to enforce barber and liquor license laws, instead of in response to nonexistent terrorism.
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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.”
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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.

The majority of House members voted on Friday to respect states’ legalization of medical marijuana and hemp in two amendments to the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (HR 4660). First, the House approved by a vote of 237 to 170 an amendment introduced by Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) regarding industrial hemp. Immediately following the hemp amendment vote, the House approved by a vote of 219 to 189 a similar amendment concerning medical marijuana introduced by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA).
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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.

This development regarding legislation supposedly intended to restrain the US government’s mass spying program comes as little surprise to Wyden, who explains that “[w]hat has happened is what I predicted would happen last fall.”
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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.
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US House Considers Gold Medal for Shimon Peres, Bill Touts US-Israel “Unbreakable Bond”

The United States House of Representatives is scheduled to consider today awarding a Congressional Gold Medal to Israel President Shimon Peres. Notably, the short bill, HR 2939, that authorizes the creation of the gold medal and its award to Peres touts Peres’ “pivotal role in forging the strong and unbreakable bond between the United States and Israel” and states that “[b]y presenting the Congressional Gold Medal … Congress proclaims its unbreakable bond with Israel and reaffirms its continual support for Israel.” Peres also previously served as prime minister of Israel, as well as in other high-level positions in the Israel government.

It would be appropriate today for members of the House to reflect on the words of the first person awarded a Congressional Gold Medal—President George Washington. In particular, they may read Washington’s farewell address, in which Washington encouraged the United States government to follow a noninterventionist foreign policy. You cannot square Washington’s recommendation with having an “unbreakable bond” with any foreign government. Unlike House Majority Leader Eric Cantor who twists Washington into a champion of a world-wide interventionist agenda, some House members may find wisdom in the reading.
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Rep. John Fleming’s Marijuana and Libertarians Disinformation Campaign

Rep. John Fleming (R-LA) presented his absurd and deceptive campaign against all marijuana use in his opening statement for a hearing regarding marijuana laws held by a subcommittee of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on the morning of May 9. In the process, Fleming also made a preposterous mischaracterization of libertarianism.

Fleming’s subcommittee statement followed his similarly misleading speech on the House floor in April in opposition to veterans using medical marijuana. And the statement occurred the same day Fleming said he may introduce legislation to block the implementation of a local Washington, DC law that decriminalizes the possession and transfer without payment of an ounce or less of marijuana on private property.
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Following Bundy Ranch Raid, Congress Moves to Transfer Tortoise Habitat to US Military

With the US House of Representatives back in session this week after the standoff between the US Bureau of Land Management on one side and the Bundy family and protestors on the other, the House Committee on Natural Resources held a hearing regarding the BLM. 

What did the hearing concern? Investigating the use of force by US government agents who raided the Bundy ranch, destroyed ranch property, and seized and killed ranch cattle? Reviewing the decades-long policy of arming more and more US government employees? Devising a plan to divest the US government of ownership of vast amounts of land, especially in western states?

No, no, and no!
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Rep. John Duncan’s Plea for US Non-Intervention in Ukraine

Rep. John J. Duncan, Jr. (R-TN) on March 13 presented on the floor of the United States House of Representatives a brief and insightful plea against the US government “sending billions” of dollars to Ukraine and escalating US intervention to cause “some type of military confrontation.”

Most representatives did not follow Duncan’s advice. Over the last few weeks, Duncan, an RPI Advisory Board member, has voted “no” with small minorities of representatives on bills that promote increasing US intervention and spending in Ukraine and that impose sanctions and demands on Russia.
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Rep. Thomas Massie Bills Would Legalize Raw Milk Sales

Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY), who introduced legislation last year to eliminate the US government’s ban on growing hemp in accordance with state laws, last week introduced two bills that would remove US government restrictions on the sale of raw milk and raw milk products. The two new bills are the Milk Freedom Act (HR 4307) and the Interstate Milk Freedom Act (HR 4308).

Raw milk and raw milk products, such as cheese and butter, are distinguished from other milk and milk products by having not been pasteurized. People may seek out raw milk and raw milk products for a variety of reasons, including because they desire better taste and nutrition.
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