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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato (429-347 BC)

Friday, January 23, 2009

Today in Washington D. C. - Jan 23, 2009

White House: As promised to pro-abortion groups, the AP is reporting that President Barack Obama will sign an executive order today ending the ban on federal funds for international groups that promote or perform abortion. The current presidential executive order known as the "Mexico City policy" bans U.S. taxpayer money from going to international family planning groups that either offer abortions or provide information, counseling or referrals about abortion. Why waste U.S. Taxpayer funds promoting abortion overseas?

Previously, Obama signed three executive orders and one presidential directive that mandate that interrogation techniques in the Army Field Manual be used by all intelligence and law enforcement services; call for a task force to look at closing the detention center in Guantanamo Bay within the year; and order a strategy to be developed for handling detainees in the future. The presidential directive also orders a stay in the case of Ali Al-Marri, the only person being held by the military as an enemy combatant on U.S. soil. In addition two other executive orders were signed that 1) revoked an executive order which makes presidential records secret for up to 12 years after leaving office, and 2) established a ban on executive branch personnel (his staff) from accepting gifts from lobbyists and implements so-called "revolving door bans" to restrict personnel movement between related public and private sector jobs within certain time frames.

Congress: Yesterday, the Senate passed the Ledbetter bill (S. 181) by a vote of 61-36. Prior to passage, the Hutchison substitute amendment failed 40-55 and six other Republican amendments were voted down by majority Democrats. Now trial lawyers can sue retroactively for "civil rights" violatons without regard to statutory limits. Senators also confirmed by unanimous consent the nominations of Susan Rice to be UN Ambassador, Lisa Jackson to be EPA Administrator, Shaun Donovan to be HUD secretary, Mary Schapiro to be a member of the SEC, and Rep. Ray LaHood (R-IL) to be Transportation secretary.

The Senate is in recess until 2 PM on Monday. At 4 PM Monday, the Senate is scheduled to begin debate on the nomination of Timothy Geithner to be Treasury secretary, with a vote expected around 6. Following the vote on Geithner, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has said he wants the Senate to begin working on the SCHIP expansion bill (H.R. 2).

At 1 PM today, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell will give a speech to the National Press Club discussing the role of Republicans in the 111th Congress. Sen. McConnell will call on President Obama and Democrats in Congress to work with Republicans to address the looming crisis in entitlement spending. He’ll also remind reporters why bipartisan cooperation has been difficult over the last several years. In particular, he will note, “I think reporters too often confuse being conservative with being partisan.” Politico points out that Sen. McConnell will also call out Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) for sitting “at the negotiating table with me” on the financial rescue bill and then turning around and running ads against him and other Republicans for supporting the bill. Reporters would also do well to recall that five of the newly-elected Democrat senators who ran against the bailout last fall subsequently voted for it last week, as detailed by Mary Katherine Ham in the Weekly Standard.

Reacting to the announcement out of the White House yesterday, Sen. McConnell said, “I am committed to working with the new Commander in Chief to ensure that the symbolism of the Executive Order directing the closure of the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay does not lead to action that imperils the American people, either through the release of terrorists on American soil or into the wider world. Our first responsibility is to protect our nation.” Already this task looks difficult, given the report in The New York Times today that a Saudi detainee released from Gitmo in 2007 has returned to the Middle East to become “the deputy leader of Al Qaeda’s Yemeni branch. . . . The Yemeni branch of Al Qaeda has carried out a number of terrorist attacks over the past year, culminating in the assault on the American Embassy in Sana on Sept. 16.”

Meanwhile, Democrats have been pushing ahead with their $800 billion plus stimulus package and have allowed very little Republican input, as Politico and The Washington Post discuss today. The Post story details growing GOP problems with the Democrats’ stimulus plans: “Sen. John Thune (S.D.) said the nearly $1 trillion price tag would add too much to a federal deficit that is already predicted to top $1.2 trillion for 2009. . . . some key Democrats are pushing to add pieces that would result in fewer Republican votes. [House Speaker Nancy] Pelosi (CA) and Sen. Richard J. Durbin (IL), the No. 2 Democratic leader in the Senate, support including changes to bankruptcy laws that would allow judges to modify loans on primary residences, which they say would help alleviate the housing crisis. Republicans and the banking industry have vehemently opposed this because it might cause mortgage interest rates to rise.”
Tags: Barack Obama, confirmations, economic stimulus, executive orders, trial lawyers, US Congress, US House, US Senate, Washington D.C., White House To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Posted by Bill Smith at 10:37 AM - Post Link


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