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House to Hit Iran With New Sanctions Bill This Week

The House Leadership has announced that it will bring a new Iran sanctions bill to the Floor for a vote this week. The bill, HR 850 - Nuclear Iran Prevention Act, will be brought up on the "suspension" calendar this coming week. Traditionally, bills are brought to the floor under suspension of the rules because they are considered "non-controversial" and therefore the higher, 2/3 affirmative vote threshold for passage is not considered an impediment. This is generally the category reserved for renaming post offices and the like.
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Defense Bill Up Today: Mini-Rebellion Crushed

House Leadership has put forth a limited closed rule governing the debate over the Defense Appropriations bill (HR 2367), approving just over 100 amendments to the bill. The bill will be on the House Floor today shortly after noon.

By approving for debate several watered-down amendments on controversial issues, such as Rep. Radel's (R-FL) meaningless fund limitation on Syria, this rule will allow Members to placate constituents back home, who want no part of another Middle East war, while in effect doing nothing at all to stop the war train as it is rapidly leaving the station. As US involvement in the Syrian war escalates, as it inevitably will -- particularly with today's news that the House and Senate Intelligence Committees have "approved" transfer of arms to the Syrian opposition -- Members will be able to return to their home districts with the political cover of having voted  for an amendment on Syria even if it is empty. Few will notice.
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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.
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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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Breaking! Rep. Massie to Introduce Bill Blocking Syria Rebel Military Aid

House sources tell RPI that Representative Thomas Massie (R-KY) is preparing to introduce legislation to forbid the president from providing military assistance to any of the combatant groups in the current Syrian conflict. Absent a Congressional declaration of war, the legislation asserts, the president may not expend money appropriated by Congress for the purposes of arming any side in Syria.
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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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House Intel Committee's Sham Hearing on Mass Spying

Today the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence in the United States House of Representatives is holding a hearing designed to cheer the US government's secret mass spying programs. The committee leadership's one-sided agenda is highlighted by the title of this morning's hearing—How Disclosed NSA Programs Protect Americans, and Why Disclosure Aids Our Adversaries—and the hearing's witness list, composed entirely of high-level managers and lawyers in government entities administering the programs:
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