The United States Senate voted today to approve the legislation that will temporarily extend the Bush-era tax cuts to all Americans. The 81-19 vote took place two days after Monday’s Senate cloture vote of 83-15, which ultimately ended the Republican filibuster and moved the bill to a final vote. The cloture vote allowed for an additional 30 hours of debate on the legislation, ultimately delaying the final vote on the legislation until today at approximately 1 p.m.
Conservatives may have lost some battles for committee chairmen in the incoming Republican-dominated House of Representatives, but they are making up for it when it comes to subcommittees. For economic conservatives there is the appointment of Rep. Ron Paul of Texas to head the Financial Services Subcommittee on Domestic Monetary Policy and Technology. Social conservatives, meanwhile, scored a victory with the selection of the staunchly pro-life Rep. Joseph Pitts of Pennsylvania as chairman of the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health.
The media response to the appointment of Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) to the chairmanship of the House Domestic Monetary Policy Subcommittee has been swift and — somewhat surprisingly — mostly positive. Perhaps it is due to the fact that public opinion has been turning against the Federal Reserve, Paul’s longtime target that is overseen by his subcommittee.
It’s official: Texas Congressman Ron Paul will be the Chairman of the House Subcommittee for Domestic Monetary Policy and Technology when the 112th Congress convenes in January. Rep. Spencer Bachus of Alabama, who is slated to be the Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, of which the Monetary Policy Subcommittee is a part, announced Paul’s appointment as chairman of that subcommittee on December 9.
On Wednesday night, the United States House of Representatives approved a $1.1 trillion continuing resolution (CR) that will fund the federal government through September 30, 2011. A Continuing Resolution was Congress’ last resort as it failed to pass any of the 12 appropriations bills for fiscal year 2011, as well as a budget resolution.
Will Tuesday be Ron Paul’s big day? Robert Wenzel of EconomicPolicyJournal.com thinks so, as does Paul confidant Lew Rockwell. On December 7 the Republican leadership in the House of Representatives is scheduled to announce the chairmen of various committees and subcommittees, including the Subcommittee for Domestic Monetary Policy and Technology, of which the Texas congressman is currently the ranking Republican member.
Remember that clause in the Constitution that gives the federal government the authority to regulate school bake sales? Even if you don’t, Congress does. The House of Representatives just passed a $4.5 billion bill that, among other things, authorizes the U.S. Department of Agriculture to set nutrition guidelines for all foods sold in a school building during school hours — and that includes “bake sales and pizza fundraisers,” according to CalorieLab.com. (If pressed, elected officials would undoubtedly note that such sales can affect interstate commerce since students buying cupcakes at school would no longer be buying them from Hostess, thus providing an opening for Congress to regulate these activities.)
Given the quantity of items planned for this year’s lame-duck session, it is imperative to keep up with the items addressed in the final month of the 111th Congress on a regular basis. Here is a quick analysis of what the lame-duck session has covered thus far, and what is on the agenda for today.
Because of President Barack Obama's veto power, it is very unlikely that Congress could successfully repeal ObamaCare for at least another two years. However, there are substantive things that can be done to prevent ObamaCare’s implementation, such as state nullification of the legislation and congressional defunding of its provisions. There are also symbolic things — things that might pass one or both houses of Congress but, if they do pass both houses, will almost certainly be vetoed by Obama. One of the symbolic measures being considered by Republicans is the use of a 1996 law that gives Congress the power to overrule regulations issued by executive branch agencies.
With one month left until the end of the year, Congress has quite a bit with which to contend. Ranging from the unemployed, “wealthy,” and “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” to illegal immigration, lame-duck lawmakers intend to make difficult decisions in the ensuing weeks.