House of Representatives

House passes NDAA, White House backs off veto threats

[UPDATE - 7:23pm] The United States Senate passed the NDAA this evening by a vote of 86 to 13. It will now head to President Obama’s desk for approval.

As noted yesterday, House and Senate conferees were moving the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) forward to the final action in both chambers with compromise legislation that kept in controversial language that would allow for the indefinite detention of American citizens and legal residents of the United States.

Unfortunately, the House of Representatives passed the NDAA overwhelmingly last night by a vote of 283 to 136. You can see how your representative and the members of your state’s delegation voted here. It now heads to the Senate for final passage.

For those of you that are just now catching up on this, the House basically voted last night to suspend the right to due process, the right to a trial by a jury of an accuser’s peers, and the right to habeas corpus. And now that the so-called “war on terror” has been expanded to include not only al-Qaeda but also the Taliban and other “associated forces.” Given the war on terrorism has become an open-ended war with civil liberties being offered by Congress on the alter of the “national security,” this provision will be no doubt be abused; if not by this administration than the next.

It was also noted that the White House asked for the language, at least according to Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI). So it should come as no surprise that the White House has backed off veto threats of the NDAA:

NDAA: Cracking Freedom’s Foundation

This evening, I spoke on the floor of the House of Representatives against Section 1021 — the indefinite detention language — of the National Defense Authorization Act, which passed this evening. You can read my comments on this provision below the video:

Mr. Speaker,

I rise in opposition to Section 1021 of the underlying Conference Report (H.R. 1540, the National Defense Authorization Act).

This section specifically affirms that the President has the authority to deny due process to any American it charges with “substantially supporting al Qaeda, the Taliban or any ‘associated forces’” – whatever that means.

Would “substantial support” of an “associated force,” mean linking a web-site to a web-site that links to a web-site affiliated with al-Qaeda? We don’t know. The question is, “do we really want to find out?”

We’re told not to worry – that the bill explicitly states that nothing in it shall alter existing law.

How Speaker Newt Gingrich Betrayed the Republican Revolution

Stephen Slivinski is senior economist at the Goldwater Institute. Previously he was director of budget studies at the Cato Institute, senior economist at the Tax Foundation, and a senior editor at the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. Mr. Slivinski is the author of the book, Buck Wild: How Republicans Broke the Bank and Became the Party of Big Government, published in 2006.

One thing that makes Newt Gingrich an attractive presidential candidate to many conservatives is his term as Speaker of the House and his role as the captain of the Republican Revolution of 1994. But a closer look at the history of the years between 1995 and when he stepped down as speaker in 1998 show that Gingrich was usually at odds with those pushing the Reaganite vision of a truly limited federal government. In fact, when the Republican Revolution succeeded at all it was often in spite of Newt Gingrich, not because of him. Unfortunately, too many conservatives have forgotten this or perhaps may not have known it at all.

Gingrich does indeed come across as an eloquent defender of limited government principles. In 1995, he envisioned the new GOP congressional majority presaging a cultural revolution in Washington, D.C. “The real breaking point is when you find yourself having a whole new debate, with new terms. That’s more important than legislative achievements,” Gingrich told a reporter on the first day of the 104th Congress. “We’ll know in six months whether we have accomplished that.”

National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act is common sense legislation

On Wednesday, the House of Representatives passed the National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act, a piece of common sense legislation that protects the rights of gun owners in states that have concealed carry laws. Below is the speech I have on the House floor in support of the measure (transcript below):

Today the House will consider HR 822, a long-overdue measure to assure that states recognize the concealed weapons permits issued by other states.

This very simple measure has unleashed a firestorm of protests from the political left. I noted one polemicist, who obviously has not read the Constitution, fumed that this is a Constitutional violation of states’ rights enshrined in the tenth amendment.

What nonsense. Article IV of the Constitution could not possibly be more clear: “Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records and judicial Proceedings of every other State. And the Congress may by general Laws prescribe the Manner in which such Acts, Records, and Proceedings shall be proved, and the Effect thereof.”

Flak over the jobs speech

Apparently, President Obama is a little pissed right now.  After all, his partisanship was trumped by Speaker of the House John Boehner’s partisanship.  For those who missed it, President Obama wanted to speak to a joint session of Congress.  Per usual, the President asked the Speaker of the House if that was all cool.  Boehner said no.  That’s the Reader’s Digest version anyways.

Obama’s timing of his speech coincided with a debate between GOP candidates, a move many considered to have been strategic in nature rather than coincidence.  I’m inclined to agree.  Boehner, a Republican after all, said, “Nah.  How about the next day?”  The White House agreed.

However, all doesn’t seem to be puppies and daisies in the nation’s capital.  Politico has learned from a White House source that apparently the President and his staff are more than a little upset.

“It is a big deal that the House said ‘no’ to the president from our end,” a White House source with intimate knowledge of what took place between the House and the president told me Thursday. “This confirms what we all know: They will do anything in the House to muck us up.”

Indeed.  After all, a 24 hour delay will kill the whole deal, right?  I mean, everything in his proposals was calculated to the exact position of the moon and the stars in relation to Jupiter or something, right?  The source went on to comment about the debate conflict.

Yet the White House did not see this as an obstacle. “With all due respect, the POLITICO-MSNBC debate was one that was going on a cable station,” the White House source said. “It was not sacrosanct. We knew they would push it back and then there would be a GOP debate totally trashing the president. So it wasn’t all an upside for us.”

BREAKING: Debt deal clears the Senate

The deal agreed to over the weekend by the White House and leaders from both parties to raise the debt ceiling and cut spending, or so they say, has cleared the Senate in a 74 to 26 vote. It will now head to President Barack Obama’s desk for his signature.

It cleared the House last night by a vote of 269 to 161.

Ron Paul will not seek re-election in 2012

According to a local paper in the district and a post on his Twitter account, Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) will focus solely on his presidential bid and will not seek another term in the House:

After serving almost 24 years in the U.S. House of Representatives, Congressman Ron Paul told The Facts this morning he will not be seeking another term for the District 14 seat.

Paul, 75, will instead focus on his quest for the presidency in 2012.

“I felt it was better that I concentrate on one election,” Paul said. “It’s about that time when I should change tactics.”

His announcement will give enough time for anyone with aspirations for his seat to think about running, he said. Paul didn’t want to wait for filing in the 2012 primary to let people know he wasn’t seeking reelection.

“I didn’t want to hold off until in December,” he said. “I thought it shouldn’t be any later than now.”

Paul has served 12 terms in Congress. District 14 encompasses a 10-county area along the Gulf Coast.

I saw a few people mention on Twitter that he isn’t running his district was split during reapportionment. I haven’t followed the redistricting process in Texas, so have no idea if that’s true or not (and I haven’t had time to dive into those details). A friend close to the campaign tells me that this insinuation is false. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if that turned out to be the case considering that national Republicans, including then-Speaker Newt Gingrich, targeted him in the past during primaries.

While I don’t always agree with Dr. Paul, I’m sad and disappointed to see his congressional career come to an end. He is a tireless voice for liberty and free markets and that is sorely needed in Congress.

House bringing up the rear on Libya

Well after the 90 time limit for President Obama to bring US troops home since he didn’t have Congressional approval under the War Powers Act, the House is looking at either approving or ending the Libya mission.  Welcome to the party folks, but the truth is that President Obama should have already brought the troops home from this one.

From The Hill:

Whether either resolution will have the support to pass the House is unclear. While the House has come close to blocking funds for the mission in recent weeks, a measure authorizing the operation could draw support from Republicans whose concerns have focused on the lack of congressional input.

The House is also likely to consider separate proposals to restrict funding for the Libya campaign as part of a Defense appropriations bill this week.

[Emphasis mine]

The truth is that Congress really only has one option, and that’s to order the cessation of all military activities connected with Libyan operations, even in a support capacity.  I’m fine with stipulations that permit US personnel to intervene in search and rescue activities in international waters, things like that, but nothing more.  Failure to do so will set a dangerous precedent that future presidents may seize and use in violation of the law.

President Obama engaged in military operations without Congressional approval for over 60 days.  By law, he had an additional 30 days to bring troops home.  He didn’t.  House Republicans, if the choose to allow authorization at this point in time, will effectively say “Oh, it’s not a problem.  Laws don’t apply to the President, even when the explicitly say they do” and permit him to continue his activities.

Podcast: Discussing The GOOOH System

In a special podcast, Jason and Brett discuss the GOOOH system with Don Rosenberg, member of the National Media Panel for GOOOH.

The discussion of the GOOOH system is a great introductory glimpse at a novel approach to selecting a candidate to serve as a citizen-statesman, replacing the career politicians currently serving.

You can download the podcast here. The always lovely Aimee Allen graces us with “Silence is Violence” in the music that opens the interview.

You can subscribe to the RSS of JUST our podcasts here, or you can find our podcasts on iTunes here.

GOP: Back in the Saddle Again

See Video

House Minority Whips, Eric Cantor and Kevin McCarthy, put together a quick, fun little video about the recently passed spendulous package.

 


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