The Senate on December 13 passed a mammoth omnibus spending bill variously described as costing $447 billion or $1.1 trillion, depending on whether "mandatory" spending for programs such as Medicare and Social Security were included in the tabulation. The Senate vote completed congressional action, sending the legislation to the President for his signature. Dozens of federal agencies received average budget increases of 10 percent.
House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) stated on December 11 that the federal government must borrow at least $1.8 trillion more in 2010 if the United States is to avoid defaulting on its debts. This would be over and above the current $12.1 trillion national debt limit.
Librarians are virtually united in opposing the renewal of the Patriot Act provisions that are set to expire this December 31, 2009. Thirty-two state chapters of the American Library Association (ALA) have passed resolutions calling for Congress to allow Section 215 of the act to expire.
Ben Bernanke appeared on December 3 before the Senate Banking Committee as part of the confirmation proceedings needed to approve a second four-year term as Federal Reserve chairman. He found some strong opposition and some fawning support among the Senators.
The latest (December 7) issue of The New American includes our second congressional scorecard on the 111th Congress. The scorecard, entitled “The Freedom Index: A Congressional Scorecard Based on the U.S. Constitution,” rates Congressmen based on their adherence to constitutional principles of limited government, fiscal responsibility, national sovereignty, and a traditional foreign policy of avoiding foreign entanglements.
Led by the Democratic majority, the U.S. Senate on November 19 confirmed President Barack Obama’s long-stalled first judicial nominee. By a vote of 59-39, the Senate approved Obama’s choice of U.S. District Judge David Hamliton for the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals based in Chicago.
Dismissing concerns that the environmental assumptions underlying the bill may be fundamentally flawed, key Senate Democrats have ignored their own rules in an attempt to force an early vote on the radical Kerry-Boxer “cap-and-trade” legislation.
The Federal Reserve Transparency Act (H.R. 1207), Congressman Ron Paul’s landmark bill to audit the Federal Reserve, has been gutted in a House subcommittee as it works its way toward a vote in the full House. The bill, which has garnered an astonishing 308 cosponsors from both parties, has attracted the scalpel of North Carolina Democrat Mel Watt (whose district happens to include Charlotte, the home of Bank of America, America’s largest commercial bank). According to Congressman Paul, whose Campaign for Liberty posted a video on the bill last weekend, Watt has cut out “just about everything” in prepping the bill for a full committee vote.
A House Democrat who once claimed to "live and breathe security" has been under investigation this year for allegedly promising to use her influence to gain leniency for two "pro-Israeli lobbyists" in exchange for support of her own effort to gain the chairmanship of the House Intelligence Committee, the Washington Post reported Friday.
The Senate held a hearing on October 29 dealing with the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act (S. 1733), cap-and-trade legislation that would cut CO2 emissions. At that hearing, evidence was presented that clearly showed how an aggressive emissions reduction strategy would be detrimental to the United States.