For each of the past three years, Senator Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) has published his annual Wastebook, and each year the press has had a field day digging into the 200-page report to expose the most outrageous, wasteful, and annoying projects Congress is funding with taxpayer monies. In 2010, for instance, Coburn’s report noted that $200,000 went to research that studied why political candidates “make vague statements,” while his 2011 report exposed squandering of $700,000 to study cow burps, robot dragons, and “bridges to nowhere.”
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada is trying to get Congress, after the November elections, to pass into law language that would preempt from the states the right to regulate Internet gambling and would instead provide for federal regulation of this activity — benefiting his home state.
Those concerned about U.S. sovereignty have worried that Democrats would try to ram certain UN agreements — the Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST), the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) — through the Senate during the lame-duck session following the November elections. What they may not have anticipated, however, is that they would try to sneak those treaties past their colleagues by other means.
The Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute says that’s what Sen. Richard Durbin attempted during a sparsely attended session on the evening of Sept. 20. C-FAM reports: “With just a few people on the Senate floor, [Durbin] tried to pass the Disability treaty by unanimous consent.” Had he succeeded, the treaty would have been ratified with no recorded vote. Fortunately, Sen. Mike Lee was there when Durbin tried to pull this stunt — and put a stop to it.
During the overnight Senate session that resulted in the passage of a “de facto declaration of war” on Iran and a stopgap bill that funded the federal government through March, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) tried to push through a vote on next year’s National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), as well.
When the Senate unanimously passed SB 1956 early Saturday morning, September 22, Annie Petsonk of the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) called it “rather extraordinary.” But she didn’t mean that as a good thing. It meant, instead, that the Senate wanted nothing to do with the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EUETS) that would have burdened U.S. airlines with $3 billion in additional costs over the next decade, attacking the country’s national sovereignty along the way.
This would mean instead, according to Petsonk, if the House passed a similar measure that is pending there, that the EDF’s efforts to implement worldwide regulation of airlines’ emissions would have to be directed through an international UN-sanctioned group instead. In other words, the Senate bill was just a speed bump on the way to European Union control of all airlines.
Three minutes after midnight Friday leading into Saturday morning, the Senate rejected by a vote of 81 to 10 a proposal offered by Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) to hold aid to the governments of Egypt, Libya and Pakistan pending the surrender to U.S. authorities of those suspected of carrying out the attack on U.S. diplomatic offices in Egypt and Libya. Ambassador Chris Stevens was murdered in the attack on the Libyan consulate.
Senator Paul’s bill also contained a clause requiring the release of Dr. Shakil Afridi, currently imprisoned by the Pakistani government, before any more money would be sent to Islamabad.
Republicans in the House of Representatives have added another bill to this week’s legislative agenda, which is already cumbersome. The addition is entitled the Market Transparency and Taxpayer Protection Act and would force government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to close their non-critical assets. The bill is intended to reduce the size of the two mortgage companies.
Longtime Ron Paul for President campaign aide Jesse Benton announced September 13 that he would take a job working on the reelection campaign of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Benton's choice of McConnell drew criticism from many libertarian-leaning activists who had supported the Ron Paul campaign, as McConnell had been the major force behind trying (unsuccessfully) to stop Ron Paul's son Rand from being elected to the U.S. Senate from Kentucky in 2010.
Lawmakers are investigating the Obama administration’s controversial decision to purchase over 100 advertisements touting so-called “green jobs” on the far-left MSNBC cable television outlet using “stimulus” funds, raising serious questions among analysts about misappropriation of taxpayer money to reward allies of the president who parrot White House talking points. No other TV media channels received similar contracts and no jobs were “created.”
The dubious Obama-friendly commercials touting “green” stimulus schemes ran about 100 times on MSNBC, costing taxpayers about half of a million dollars. But after the administration’s decision became a public scandal in the wake of watchdogs and media reports exposing it, criticism of the plot is growing. And now, members of Congress want answers.
Twenty-nine years ago, on September 1, 1983, Korean Air Lines Flight 007 (KAL 007) was shot down by the Soviet Union carrying 269 innocent passengers including 60 Americans and a sitting U.S. congressman, Democrat Rep. Larry McDonald of Georgia. It was widely reported, and much of the world believes, that everyone on board was killed. But family members of the victims and experts who spent years researching the matter are convinced that many survived and are still alive somewhere in Russia. Now, they want a new official investigation.