Steve ScaliseThe Reign of the Czars, at least in the executive branch of the U.S. government, may be near an end. Congressman Steve Scalise (R-La.) offered an amendment that would block funding for the various "czars" — policy advisers appointed by the President who did not have to face formal confirmation by the U.S. Senate, and who cannot be impeached by the House of Representatives. The amendment (to the continuing resolution which keeps the federal government operating) passed the House February 17 by a vote of 249 to 171.

Mike PenceIn what is likely to be one of the most controversial votes in what promises to be a contentious legislative year, the U.S. House of Representatives voted Friday to ban all federal funding for Planned Parenthood and to eliminate a Title X program that provides aid for family planning and reproductive health services to low-income families.

It is becoming increasingly obvious that the Republican leaders in the House of Representatives never really had their hearts in all their pre-election talk about shrinking government. Having vowed to cut $100 billion from the Obama administration’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2011, they were prepared instead to trim a paltry $35 billion, arguing that on a prorated basis it works out to about $74 billion for the year, still 26 percent less than their modest stated goal.

House Republicans are mounting their next effort to stop ObamaCare — by cutting off its funding — as part of a measure Republicans are expected to introduce next week that will fund the government from March through the end of September.

In a surprising turn of events on Tuesday, the U.S. House of Representatives failed to extend a number of provisions to the PATRIOT Act as a result of dissonance within the Republican Party. Unfortunately for constitutionalists, the victory was short-lived as the House has now changed the rules for passage, opting instead for a simple majority instead of the original two-thirds majority that was required.

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