On Tuesday, March 8, the U.S. Senate passed legislation that overhauls the nation’s patent system, allowing the Patent and Trademark Office more flexibility to have more control over its financing and implementing a system that rewards the first inventor to file a valid application. The legislation — America Invents Act — passed in the Senate easily and without issue, 95 to 5.
One of the most controversial political happenings of the political season, in the 112th Congress, is Republican Rep. Peter King’s launch of an inquiry probing the extent and nature of Radical Islam in the United States. Rep. King’s panel looks towards investigating radicalization in the American Muslim community, and Rep. King, Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, insists that the congressional hearings are "absolutely essential": "I am facing reality[;] my critics are not. Al Qaeda is changing its tactics. They realize that it's very difficult to attack from the outside[;] they're recruiting from within.
On Wednesday, the U.S. Senate failed to pass a non-binding “sense of the Senate” proposal that would have called on Congress to pass a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution.
In December, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved a new set of regulations to establish its jurisdiction over the Internet in favor of “net neutrality” rules, despite the rejection of similar measures by Congress and the courts. According to members of the House of Representatives, however, those regulations may be short-lived, though action on them in the House has been delayed been Democratic leaders.
The 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.
In 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.
The Federal Reserve cherishes its privacy and has fought tooth and nail to keep it. Nevertheless, its ability to shower greenbacks on favored corporations and foreign banks may soon be drawing to a close thank s to the 2010 elections.
New members in Congress may face tough choices as Tea Partiers say the defense budget shouldn’t be exempt from budget cuts. According to MSNBC.com on Jan. 21, although the $700 billion annual budget is one that few in Congress have been willing to tackle, Tea Party groups declare that if spending is to be cut, “the military’s budget needs to be part of the mix.”